Diplomats in New Delhi announced on Friday that they will celebrate LGBTI pride events in the city over the next few weeks. Embassies will be lit up in the rainbow colours signifying support for the LGBTI community; films related to the matter will be screened; rainbow flags will be hoisted at embassies; and lectures and social gatherings will be held, among other events, according to a joint statement from 28 foreign missions, The Times of India reported.
Plans to hold these LGBTI pride events are significant in the wake of the horrific massacre of at least 49 people at an LGBTI nightclub in Orlando, Florida, on June 12. In addition to the Orlando shooting, the diplomats’ stand hold significance also because India continues to criminalise homosexuality under the colonial Section 377. “We believe these diverse celebrations will foster a sense of community and belonging, and help to advance human rights for all throughout the world. We note with pride the increasing progress that is being made around the world to protect the fundamental human rights of LGBTI individuals,” the statement read.
While the statement has avoided mention of Section 377, it highlighted the recognition granted to transgender people in the country. “India has long recognised a community of five to six million third gender Indians as citizens who do not identify themselves as either male or female,” it said.
The LGBTI programmes have the support of the embassies of the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, the European Union, Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Croatia, Finland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Malta, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden.