LGBT community plans street shows across NE

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The LGBT community across the North East planning a series of road show in solidarity with the Supreme Court Judgment.

In Guwahati, there will be one in Sunday as today and tomorrow the city will be busy with Hima das and Bhupen Hazarika.

Meanwhile at Shillong, a  street celebration will be organised on Friday after the Supreme Court ruled that consensual gay sex was not a crime.

The apex court, in a landmark judgement on Thursday, scrapped the British-era Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code where gay sex was deemed a punishable offence.

The LGBTQ community in Shillong, which has been facing stigma and discrimination, is equally elated with the landmark verdict.

The street celebration will be held at Khyndailad from 4pm onwards. Apart from the Shillong LGBTQ, other groups have also joined hands.

Although the actual figures on the number of LGBTQ members is not available, statistics with an NGO working with the community reveal that the active population in Shillong is around 270.

“Of these 270, 20 are transgenders and the remaining are MSMs (men having sex with men). We are also planning to organise a celebration in the coming days to welcome the judgment,” a programme manager of the NGO told media.

She said the basic problems faced by the community members were stigma and discrimination.

“They used to hesitate to come out even to avail of health services because of what they are. But after a number of advocacy programmes, they are beginning to come out,” the programme manager said.

While being excited with the judgment, a transgender activist, however, was not so optimistic about how society here would view them from now onwards.

“Of course we are excited, and we welcome the verdict. Our community members will go on with their lives like they have always been doing. All this while, they have been living in the closet, but now maybe they will have the courage to come forward. But as far as our society here is concerned, I cannot say,” the activist said.

Emphasising that stigma and discrimination was being faced by the LGBTQ community, the activist said people, even those who are supposedly educated, look at them with prejudice.

The activist said the LGBTQ community members have regular meetings to encourage them to live their own life and also to fight for their rights.

“In order to celebrate this day, the struggles and discrimination that our queer community has faced ancestrally and at present, we call all our queer people and straight allies to join us for a street celebration on Friday,” a message doing the rounds stated.

 

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