Growth of LGBTQ in India!

Written by Mansi Yadav

The smile reflects the pride and joy of being a part of the LGBTQ community.

Every protest requires an enormous amount of support, determination, and belief. The perfect balance of three makes it a successful social movement. Let’s talk about the LGBTQ community. It started revolting against the stereotypes set by society. And it has gained quite a lot of engagement and success (to be specific) in India.

So, what were the key factors that accelerated its growth? How did this community establish its own identity in the society and gain recognition? It’s time to answer all your questions. So, Let’s know the five main reasons behind the LGBTQ movements’ success in India!

Table of Contents:

1) Self-Acceptance & Coming out in public

2) The introduction of the first ‘Gay Magazine’

3) Calcutta’s First Pride Parade!

4) The importance of allies

5)  Decriminalization of Section 377

1)  Self-Acceptance & Coming out in public:
(above) Ashok Kavi Row, the founder of Bombay Dost promotes the community by wearing a rainbow-coloured turban.

Okay, so the first step was acceptance and self-realization of the fact that their anatomy is different, but they are equally important as any other being. It’s essential to love yourself and then you can bring a change in the society.

The meaning of ‘Gay.’
Ashok Kavi Row, the veteran journalist, explained the meaning of the word ‘gay’ in his narrative which was published in a magazine called Savvy. Savvy was the first time when something about the LGBTQ Community was spoken out loud in public, and homosexuality emerged as an identity in India.

Now, many people have started normalizing their self and this community, which in itself is a vast revolution when you look back.

2) The introduction of the first ‘Gay Magazine’
The first ‘gay magazine’, Bombay Dost as states ‘breaking stereotypes’.

Who could have thought a gay magazine back then? But Ashok Ravi made this possible by introducing the first ‘Gay Magazine’, ‘Bombay Dost’. This all started with a newsletter where Row’s main aim was to talk about issues revolving around STI’s, HIV/AIDS, etc. And now it’s India’s leading gay magazine.

It focuses on several issues and at the same time maintains confidentiality because many people are still hesitant to come out publicly.

This all happened around 1990, i.e. 30 years back. These baby steps somehow had a significant role in helping the LGBTQ community to gain recognition.

3) Calcutta’s First Pride Parade!
The beginning of a revolution, first pride march in Calcutta with only 15 people.

With only 15 people participating, the first pride parade in India happened in the city of Calcutta. That very moment shaped the entire future of the LGBT Community.

Though it was a small group, it was enough to gain all attention. It was something unconventional, and people were intrigued to know more about it.

15000 people in Mumbai’s pride parade

It started in 1990, and by 2012, around 1500 people joined in, which was quite a growth in number. Recently, the 2019 Mumbai parade had about 15000 people. Can you imagine? The numbers are still growing.

The quote, “To bring a change, you have to be the change”, perfectly fits in this scenario.

4) They realize the importance of allies
Vishal Pinjani, an LGBTQ activist, speaking at TEDx about the importance of allies CREDITS:

If you want to succeed in a mission, it’s essential to know your enemy’s strength. Well, in this case not enemy, but a separate sect of the society, i.e. the cisgender heterosexual people.

The LGBTQ Community realized that their movement requires support from the privileged people. So, they started convincing and building a network with the cisgender heterosexual people.

Vishal explains the role of cisgender heterosexual people.

In an interview, Vishal Pinjani, the founder of Abhimaan talked about the importance of allies. He said, ‘It’s important for you (cisgender heterosexual) people to speak up about this community. The privileged society needs to get involved in the struggles of this community because, with us, you are also the change-makers.”

Well, know a lot of ‘straight’ people have come up in support of this community to normalize homosexuality. This is an outstanding achievement because when you talk about bringing change, it includes the whole population.

5) De-criminalization of Section 377
Justice prevails in the end, a moment of victory for the LGBTQ Community.

The ‘Section 377’ of the IPC defines that any person having sexual intercourse against the order of nature (with a man, woman, or animal) will be punished with life imprisonment.

This directly targets the LGBTQ Community and restricts their rights to get physically involved with someone.

So, in 2018, the Supreme Court decriminalized Section 377 and Chief Justice Misra described it as, ‘indefensible, irrational and manifestly arbitrary’.

This caused a nation-wide celebration as the community finally got justice. Many homosexual people came out in public and accepted their identity.

After decriminalization, the movement gained momentum.

The LGBTQ Movement gained momentum after this verdict. India finally welcomed an oppressed part of its population with open arms and promised them equal rights and recognition.

Though the struggle continues, there are many stereotypes set by the society which have to be eradicated from its root.

The LGBTQ Community is growing stronger day by day and expanding its influence all over the country!

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