Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code may not have much to do with music,dance and alcohol consumption by adults,but fear psychosis is gripping night clubs. A scheduled party on December 17 at Bonobo along Linking Road in Bandra is already on hold,revealing the anxiety post the Supreme Court decision Wednesday.
The LGBTI community saw the re-emergence of an active night life in the city after the Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexuality in 2009.
Sidi,who is associated with LGBTI group Yarriyan and organises private parties for the queer community,said,The verdict will have a negative effect with several venues refusing to provide space for parties. Though the verdict has nothing to do with night life,people are sceptical of how the police might interpret it. However,the fear psychosis created by the verdict is likely to wear off in another six months as it is economics that drives such parties.
According to Sidi,most venue providers,fearing crackdown in the coming days,are likely to refuse permission for such parties. Recalling a horrid experience even after the Delhi HC had decriminalised homosexuality,Sidi said,A local NCP politician in Oshiwara along with the police tried to disrupt a party in Oshiwara in January 2012,saying gay parties require special permission. After much deliberation,we managed to convince the police that they were wrong. The police apologised and left,but the party was ruined.
While party-goers are also worried about their dignity due to moral policing,party organisers and non-government organisations working for the community assured that night life would be unaffected.
Jaymin Harshad Dalal,promoter director of Salvation Star,one of the six prominent party organisers for LGBTI parties,said,We expect a slight dip in numbers for a few days. As a precaution,organisers ensure that all permission have been secured. There are about 10 prominent regular venues for LGBTI parties,which happen twice a month. Around 150 to 200 people attend gigs organised by Salvation Star.
Acknowledging that not many venues were comfortable with the idea of LGBTI parties at the start,Dalal says,Around 10 clubs in Mumbai,mostly promoted by those who have a liberal outlook,welcomed the idea. If one has the requisite permission,the police is by and large cooperative.
Asked if the SC verdict could see moral policing,Dalal said,We have never been in trouble with the police because we have always ensured that licences and permission are in place. Now we will be more cautious.
A volunteer of Humsafar trust,which works for the rights of LGBTIs,said,The parties will remain unaffected because like any other party,guests are drinking,dancing and enjoying the music. Theres no reason why guests should fear going to the parties.