By Chand Nirankari
NEW YORK (Dec. 15, 2013) — Hundreds of local LGBTQIA South Asians and supporters gathered at New York City’s Union Square on Dec. 15 to demonstrate their outrage over past Wednesday’s Indian Supreme Court ruling reinstating Sec. 377, a law criminalizing sexual acts deemed “unnatural”. This judgment has inspired anger across India and around the world, inspiring the “Global Day of Rage.”
The Supreme Court of India on December 11, 2013 overturned the July 2009 Delhi High Court judgment, which decriminalised consensual sex between adults in private. Effectively, the ruling re-criminalizes millions of trans and queer Indians, reducing them to the status of ‘unapprehended felons.’ The Supreme Court has failed to live up to its role as the protector of rights for all citizens without discrimination, as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
The event drew in hundreds of South Asians and supporters, and speakers included Radhika Balakrishnan from the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Journalist Aseem Chabbra, Sonia Cheruvellil from The South Asian Solidarity Initiative, Aseem Kulkarni and Tara Gonsalves from SALGA-NYC (South Asian Lesbian & Gay Association), and Irma Bajar from Gabriela USA. The event also saw performances by activist rapper Invincible Detroit and the South Asian queer spoken word duo Darkmatter.
The large group of supporters shouted various chants such as, “Hey hey, ho ho, 377 Has got to go!” and “377 Murdabad, Queer Freedom Zindabad! (translation: ‘Down with 377, Long Live Queer Freedom!’)” The rally ended in a moving candlelight vigil with the group singing “We Shall Overcome” in both Hindi and English.
The Court’s barbaric ruling makes India one of 77 countries that criminalize homosexuality. Activists are expressing their solidarity globally with coordinated rallies and protests to let the Indian Government know that the struggle for LGBTQIA rights will continue.
This Global Day of Rage was organised by queer Indians, the queer Indian diaspora, queer people of all countries, our supporters, relatives and friends.
Endorsers: SALGA – NYC, South Asian Solidarity Initiative (SASI), Desis Rising Up and Moving (DRUM), South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC), International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC), National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF), Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC) CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities, Audre Lorde Project (ALP), New York City LGBT Community Center, Breakthrough, SHOLAY, All Out, Desis Rising Up & Moving (DRUM), GABRIELA, New York Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA), Queens Pride House, NQAPIA.