New Delhi: The setting Sunday sun in the heart of the capital was accompanied by a rainbow of a different kind. As the assertive and confident members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community took part in the Delhi gay parade, they all wished for freedom from the myopic mindset of society and acceptance of their existence.
The annual parade Sunday, in its seventh year, continued to garner support from people from different walks of life, especially students, who mingled with a group of over 700 people and danced along with them to drumbeats and whistles.
The roads of Connaught Place were splashed with a rainbow of colours as balloons of different hues, flags, masks and scarves accompanied the crowd that marched from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar.
This year, however, the LGBT community marched for "freedom", with many of the members coming out of closet and revealing their faces.
Holding placards that read "If god hates gays, why are we so cute then", "Gay rights are human rights" and "Different is no wrong", the LGBT community protested the Supreme Court's December 2013 judgment that upheld Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that bans gay sex.
The apex court decision had reversed the Delhi High Court's 2009 order which said the IPC section violated the rights of LGBT people.
"Today, the march not only seeks acceptance of the LGBT community in the society, it also seeks to change views of people towards us. This can only be done if we are not treated as criminals," said Manish Kant, one of the participants.
"The SC decision has pushed us miles away from our fight. We are demanding equal status in society and freedom to be ourselves. This might look difficult, but not impossible," he added.
With colourful hairdos and varied props, and a multi-coloured flag around which many people wearing dark make-up and glittering saris and gowns danced, the parade represented an invisible section of the society that was seeking solidarity from other people.
"People look at us and laugh. They make fun of us behind our backs and even in front of us. This is one such day when we can be ourselves without worrying what others would say," Sarojini, a transgender, told IANS.
"This is the day when we all get together to celebrate our existence and hope the stigma associated with all of us will fade away some day," she said.