International News

Delhi celebrates first Queer Pride march in three years

Graham Robson January 10, 2023

Up to 800 people took part in the first Delhi Queer Pride march in three years on Sunday, January 8 as pressure grows for legal recognition of same-sex marriage in India.

In March 2023, the Supreme Court of India is due to hear petitions from gay couples seeking the same marital rights as heterosexual couples, five years after it struck down a statute introduced by the British more than 150 years earlier that criminalised gay sex.

Ajay Chauhan, a participant in Sunday’s march, said: “Decriminalisation has only targeted one aspect of it but there’s a larger aspect and the rights are still not there for the LGBTQ+ community.

“We need to really focus on those rights like inheriting properties together (and) opening bank accounts. Marriage is one big thing because once marriage comes into play then all these other aspects of the rights will be met.”

A favourable ruling by the Supreme Court could pave the way for the nation of 1.4 billion people to become the second jurisdiction in Asia to recognise same-sex marriage after Taiwan.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi‘s administration has however resisted previous attempts to formally recognise same-sex relationships in cases heard in lower courts.

On January 6, opponents to same-sex marriage – including right-wing Hindu groups – staged a small demonstration in Delhi outside the Supreme Court.

Attitudes to homosexuality have softened somewhat in India in recent years, at least among the urban middle class, with more portrayals of LGBTQ+ characters in Bollywood films and series. But in the largely socially conservative and devout country, many LGBTQ+ Indians still risk being shunned by their families, at work and by friends if they come out.