Alaskan Celebrates Gay Pride in India on Historic Ruling

India overturned its ban on gay sex last week, and Ryan from Juneau, Alaska was there to celebrate in Bangalore's Gay Pride Parade.

The High Court in New Delhi ruled that gay sex between consenting adults is no longer a crime, overturning the 1860 anti-sodomy law, known as Section 377. "Moral indignation, howsoever strong, is not a valid basis for overriding individuals' fundamental rights of dignity and privacy."

Ryan is traveling in India and studying at the Visthar Center near Bangalore. In the post Welcome to Bangalore & the South India Artist Intensive, Ryan described the theater and dance workshops and his adventures in the city, then wrote about gay life in India and the historic court ruling:
Finally, it's been a surprisingly eventful week in sexual politics in India. Last Sunday I found myself marching in Bangalore's gay pride parade, which is a scenario I never would have envisioned. It certainly was no New York or Amsterdam pride, but it beat out Juneau's gay pride parade—which consists of me walking down Franklin Street to get a cup of coffee. There were several hundred people and drumming and shouting—lots of people wearing masks, though, for the sake of anonymity in photo or video. That very day, the Indian High Court was reviewing section 377, which is the law used against gay people in this country (though it doesn't refer to homosexuals verbatim). Thursday, the law was amended! Huge news. What this basically means, as someone at Visthar put it, is that homosexual lifestyles are now 'recognized as non-crimes.' Still not equal rights, but at least not outright discrimination. …Now this weekend, there have been counter-protests and demonstrations in some cities, some apparently violent.

It will be interesting to see how this continues to unfold here. I would at least venture to say that from what I've seen, the divide between rural and urban here, 'liberal' and 'conservative,' seems to be HUGE. As part of our cultural context class this week, we had a session discussing sexual minorities, and Visthar invited 2 gay men and 2 lesbian women to speak. It was incredible to me that all 4 of them—none of whom could have been older than 40—had attempted suicide due to their sexuality-combined-with-social/family-situation. Two had had their partners die in double-suicide attempts that they themselves had survived. It does seem that the situation here is behind the US by a few years or decades.
Check out his photos of India, and follow Ryan's future adventures by subscribing to his blog Forging Ahead.

- hat tip to Maia of Own The Sidewalk

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