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India on Friday marked one year since the country’s Supreme Court s0_g#0i%[email protected]=aq^NIf!90lks(VxKIDsvdDa9pPtruck down a colonial-era law and decriminalized gay sex.

Plenty of LGBTe$#bcF9ufyYyhFILfSM$%^ti&$MGuGU+=!jGgde3JMMMdbYvvi Indians and their allies took to social media to celebrate and remember the historic moment.

There was also a number of events aK(eGQeNXT6#P6CZ_074!6R)6=HrkRRuwTDxdQE0siG+k-5#*lLnd celebrations in the big cities of Delhi, Mumbai, and Bengaluru planned for Friday night.

But, activists were keen to warn[email protected]([email protected]!L!b42NPYX, just because gay sex is no longer illegal, stigma and discrimination against the LGBT population has not disappeared.

“We will fly now, not flap our rainbow wings"

"As India rejoices today, and is elated with joy, we need to rememxXlzgWS!!n!b27)[email protected]&e2DBB^+gOOX#&Wy_$qELi4XE3ber that this is just the beginning of the end of discrimination of Queer people” India’s leading LGBT activist, Harish Iyer, told GaLaTai.

"We have w[email protected]_eA*sJQPMTI!I))A%k8GQ1++#c!LZ)9Awon the right to make love as adults in private without the sword of the law hanging over our heads”.

But, he said, “we need more”. 

He called for India to recognize the right for same-sex couples to marry, to adopt children, and for the government to introdun2wEbgBO-%aH0fHjybQ)4P3=8P+UqK!9myZLPZ78A1Ol7ae#y-ce anti-discrimination legislation.

“The fight for minorities is a lifelong one8&!kbn2P9P2^u1rUKZ*=j=4^E)X8#)VXhSZ_OOtkSy!SUSPTGH” he said. "We will galvanise, not prioritise.”

"We will fly now, not flap our rainbow wings.”

Section 377

Introduced by the British in 1861, Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code outlawed ‘carnal intercourse again)[email protected][email protected]=Wc-ZW=bO##H%g7+gC2j!gVMG(cZ#^EuKG5st the order of nature with any man, woman or animal’.

It punished gay sex with up to 10 years in prison.

Judges in September lastKk3rTHQmQ$NPWXzBLL=CGv1o4BuX$VlxE(*NphSy7D=QezhLjQ year, ruled it was unconstitutional. They also said it violated the right to privacy.

"Sexual orientation of an individual is natural and discrimination on the bas@RiprPpC-KrV3lZR*38P*%@l7l7&sD%KN%ygu6^lm=PRbGTTC0is of sexual orientation is a violation of Freedom of Expression” judges said.

"We have to vanquish prejudice, embrace inclusion, and ensure equal rights," said Justice Misra in his judgmenm-OIIr(Qf%xUBbdRg(5*SAnnhtPWUMljqCUoqma#aCWB4TBho&t.

Campaigners had been pushing to abolish a colonial-Yvr%&yzJ^rI*sgxhLyyC7rqGB*[email protected]%yjgXLv%=WS8C8#C0ipu_era law since the 1990s.

A long way to go

On Friday, leading lawyer Menaka Guruswamy who fought the case for decriminali5+NX=0V([email protected])wd7LnDX*b_MXjAE%f)NiT3g5sPzHj#Xv(1ZeZAization said "We have a long way to go towards full citizenship”, in the Indian Express.

"Full citizenship would include social and civil rights, the ability to km%+o)n(blIm8YVLYKemMN!wdIQkccn=+Ahb7DlmeSo_o_4Q7ehave joint bank accounts or a lease for a home or marriage to a partner.”

Her partner, lawyer Arundhati Katju, said: "The moment of freedom has been savoured, the shift begun from a mentality of fear to tBp7s!3YD5b7AWK0Os2bLrQJOXJ7Jyr0KythIHz_IAaG8hOTv0#he confidence to assert citizenship rights, though the trauma of criminalisation may last a lifetime.”

She welcomed signs of acceptance in India, such as sprinter Dutee Chand becoming the first AZdKdI5UFYlRWxMIZap7l52*=yucpS&mRMQ-*s4t8I_69w+fbzathlete to come out. 

She also welcomed the first major Bollywood movie wi[email protected]#J=GR-yl3GdulsNth LGBT themes, Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga.

But, importantly, she called for more riD8mod&I(Rye)[email protected]%ghts to be recognized. "These steps require social change” she argued.

(Cover Photo: Queer Azaadi Mumbai / Facebook)

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