Celebratory Mood for Mumbai's Gay Pride Parade

by VR Sreeraman on Aug 17 2009 3:23 PM

Thousands of people took to the streets of Mumbai on Sunday for the annual Pride parade, in celebratory mood after a landmark court ruling advocating an end to a ban on gay sex.

Gays, lesbians, transvestites and transsexuals plus their heterosexual supporters plied a circular route around the south of the city, walking and dancing to the beat of drummers and loud music, an AFP correspondent said.

The march comes after judges at the Delhi High Court last month ruled that a ban on homosexual acts, in place since British colonial times in 1860, was discriminatory and violated an individual's rights under the constitution.

"Last year there was a sort of protest," said Kumar Iyer, an openly gay make-up artist who was dressed as his alter-ego, drag queen "Dolly", in a large black wig, silver mini dress, pink fishnet stockings and high heels.

"This year there's no protest, there's a celebration. The ball has started rolling and now it's only going to get better," he told AFP.

Shobha Doshi said she was there to support her son, who lives with his boyfriend in the United States, and to raise awareness that gay people exist and should be accepted in society.

"I feel very proud that he's honest to himself and that he's not doing anything wrong in being gay," she told AFP, holding a banner saying "I Am Proud Of My Gay Son".

Despite the court case, there remains widespread opposition to homosexuality in socially conservative and family-orientated India, particularly from leaders of the Hindu, Muslim and Christian communities.