27 embassies and high commissions in New Delhi have launched a fortnight’s campaign to celebrate LGBT rights. It began with a discussion on LGBT rights at the American Center in Delhi.
Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada, U.K., USA, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and Sweden
For the first time, a group of nations including Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada, U.K., USA, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and Sweden have joined together to promote gay rights in New Delhi, despite the Indian government’s apathy on the subject.
“The message from the embassies is that ‘live up to the image that you show globally on such issues’,” activist Gautam Bhan said, before referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter message condoling Orlando’s victims.
“Speak out and acknowledge the community here in India as you send condolence messages for incidents abroad. The message is that while you celebrate diversity elsewhere, protect it at home.”
India’s unwillingness to offer diplomatic immunity to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats has led to tensions with embassies. Several officials have left the job finding the job too tough.
Activist Ashok Row Kavi said, “The rest of the world is telling India to wake up. You want investments coming into India, you need to get your house in order as people with alternative sexuality will be part of those deals and they cannot be treated as criminals when they come here.”
Some activists, however, said they would prefer the movement seeking rights for the LGBT community to focus on the domestic audience, rather than wait for foreign missions to pressure the Indian government. Changes in Indian law on homosexuality must be brought about from inside, and not outside.
“There is a myth that alternative sexuality is a foreign import, alien and not from our culture,” Anis Ray, a Calcutta-based activist said.
Diplomats discussed the history of LGBTI struggles and rights in their respective countries. They also hoped that the Indian Parliament would decriminalise gay sex and repeal section 377
We hope this campaign will make the Indian government realize how crucial it is to scrap section 377 and provide equal rights to every citizen to make India a developed and powerful country.