Hours after the Supreme Court (SC) reversed a 2009 Delhi High Court verdict decriminalising gay sex,the lesbian,gay,bisexual and transsexual (LGBT) community in Bangalore took to the streets in protest Wednesday. The SC upheld constitutional validity of IPC section 377 that makes gay sex a punishable offence. It said it was up to elected representatives to amend the law.
Members of the LGBT community,who gathered at Town Hall for a protest meeting in the afternoon,expressed shock and disappointment at the order.
While unfortunate,this verdict will not send the community back into the closet, said Raj Iyer,a soft skills consultant.
He said the number of assertive and openly gay and lesbian individuals in Bangalore was on the rise since the Delhi High Court order. The Supreme Court verdict is creating a wave of resistance. We are seeking new means to fight back, Iyer said.
About a dozen NGOs in Bangalore have been working for LGBT rights for over a decade. Good As You and other support groups meet once a week to discuss LGBT identities,counsel individuals on coming out and promote free expression.
These community building exercises and infrastructure that has been built over the years will not disappear overnight, Iyer said.
Vinay Chandran,director of NGO Swabhava Trust that runs Good As You,called the judgment an act of betrayal.
We are angered and disappointed. Criminalising gay sex will promote blackmail and extortion by opportunists and may force corporate India to withdraw support to the LGBT community, he said.
IT majors in Bangalore have championed the cause of gay and lesbian employees by participating in pride marches and creating a more inclusive work environment.
Chandran said corporate diversity policies supporting the LGBT community took off in earnest only after the Delhi High Court verdict. Now,there is no case for corporates to justify diversity policies, he said.
Anil Pratap,a 23-year-old call centre executive,said the verdict was a blow to young gays and lesbians. We thought there was hope. Really,we were hoping for the best, he said.
Pratap had planned to come out to his parents on New Years eve but now plans to wait until next year.