Over 2,000 out and proud lesbian, gay, bisexual and trandgender people and their straight friends marched through India’s capitol today in the 3rd annual pride parade.

Today is about saying that we are gay and we are proud. We are not going anywhere, we are a part of society, and today we can celebrate being different.” –Amit Agrawal, a parade organizer

Past pride marches were held in protest against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, a colonial-era nugget which criminalized consensual sex between adult same-sex couples.  But this year was all about celebration because on July 2, 2009 the High Court of New Delhi ruled that Section 377 no longer applies to same-sex couples.  

Last year it was about protest, but this year it is all about celebration. It has only been a year, but it has been a huge year.”  –Hillol Dutta, gay activist

As we all know, changing the law doesn’t erase the bigotry in people’s hearts and many gay Indians still enter into the closet of heterosexual marriages.  But the positive effects of the High Court’s ruling are already being felt.  Mohnish Malhotra, another if the pride parade’s organizers said that

{Because}…gays and lesbians can no longer be legally prosecuted…this has had a visible trickle-down effect on people’s attitude to homosexuality on a grass-root level, at least in urban areas.  “We are no longer considered criminals – people in general have become more tolerant,” he says. [snip]

Since Section 377 was struck down, many of Delhi’s hottest venues have started hosting gay-themed nights and businesses openly targeting gay consumers have sprung up in a variety of sectors. They include lifestyle magazine “Fun,” web-based travel agent “Indjapink“, and the specialized online bookstore “Queer Ink.”

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