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India Strikes Down Colonial-Era Law Against Gay Sex

Activists regrouped, and in 2016 five gay and lesbian Indians submitted a writ petition challenging Section 377 on the basis that it violated their rights to equality and liberty, among other infractions, under India’s Constitution.

The initial group included Mr. Johar, a dancer, and his partner, Mr. Mehra, a journalist; Ritu Dalmia, a celebrity chef; Ayesha Kapur, a businesswoman; and Aman Nath, a hotelier.

Leading up to the Supreme Court hearings, at least 26 other Indians with varied social and economic backgrounds joined them.

Among those to file a petition was Anurag Kalia, 25, an engineer living in Bangalore, who was once so afraid to say the word “gay” that he practiced doing so in front of the mirror. “I used to whisper it,” he said.

Mr. Kalia said announcing his sexuality in such a public way with the court petition was a “personal victory of sorts,” reflecting a broader evolution.

In 2013, more than 100 of his classmates and teachers gave Mr. Kalia a standing ovation when he announced that he was gay during an end-of-year celebration at the University of Delhi, where he studied. A few years later, he came out to his mother before she died. “That was one thing that would have forever pinched me,” he said.

The end of Section 377 started a new chapter in India, he said. And though there were more battles to be fought, Thursday’s decision was a beginning.

“I look back and think, ‘It did turn out well for me,’” he said.

Source: NYT > World

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