Last week I wrote a piece on how its time for the queer people to stand up, stand tall and assert their rights. In this context the queer activism in India just witnessed a landmark event, the first ever nation wide Queer Pride March was concluded on Sunday, 29th June 2008.

Thousands of gay, lesbians, bi-sexuals, transexuals and other non-heterosexual people in Delhi Bangalore and Kolkata came out on the streets to join the march which was “not a protest but a celebration”, as Leselie Esteves, member of the newly formed Delhi Queer Pride committee puts it.

This was the first of any such pride march in Delhi and Bangalore but for Kolkata this was the 4th gay pride march. The gay pride marchis annually held around this time of the year across the world to commemorate the riots that broke out in 1969 in New York city when a Gay bar was raided by police.

Men wore sparkling saris, women wore rainbow boas and hundreds of people chanted for gay rights in three Indian cities Sunday in the largest display of gay pride in the deeply conservative country where homosexual acts are illegal.

Gay rights supporters took to the streets of Calcutta, Bangalore and New Delhi to call for an end to discrimination and push for acceptance in a society where intolerance is widespread.

“This is a national coming-out party,” Alok Gupta, a lawyer from Mumbai, said as he stood among several hundred activists in New Delhi. “This is a simple thing: We are seeking the right to love.”

Source: Herald Tribune (Emphasis added)

Thaindian News also reports,

Banners with slogans such as “Drop 377″ (referring to section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that considers homosexuality a crime), “Heterosexuality is not normal, it’s common”, “Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai, Hetero-Homo Bhai Bhai” and the likes floated above the hundreds of heads on the roads of Connaught Place, the business district and shopping arcade in the heart of the capital.

(Emphasis added)

To look at the political angle of the issue and to think of the fate of the petition pending before Delhi High Court seeking unconstitutionality of Section 377 of Indian Penal Code, it is interesting to note that, Mr. Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, a senior leader of India’s main Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party, said he opposed the gay activists’ march and called homosexuality “unnatural.”

And then I hear the Hindu terrorists extremeist blaming Islam for the plight of homosexuals.