LGBT community commemorates 'Independence Day', protests government apathy

New Delhi: A large number of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community marched here on Saturday to celebrate their "Independence Day", marking the day the Delhi High Court had decriminalised homosexuality in 2009. Some of them, however, complained against the Indian government's decision to stay away from voting in the United Nations Human Rights Council on the rights of these communities.  "It is a historic day for LGBT community, when the Delhi High Court decided to decriminalise Section 377 in 2009.. Since then we gather here every year on July 2 to celebrate our independence," said Shiv, a supporter of LGBT rights, at the busy Connaught Place in central Delhi. Maintaining that the community have high expectations from the central government vis-a-vis social discrimination against them, he wanted to know, "how could a government committed to 'Sab ka Saath, Sab ka vikas' (inclusive growth) not attend to their issues".  The Delhi High Court in July 2009 had declared unconstitutional a part of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexual sex, saying "the section denies a gay person a right to full personhood..". Though the Supreme Court had in December 2013 reversed a high court verdict, the apex court had in February this year heard a few curative petitions challenging its 2013 decision and agreed to examine the matter.  Speaking on the future of Section 377 as the Supreme Court is now seized of the matter and is yet to pronounce its final verdict, Bharat, a supporter of LGBT rights lamented that in the fight between judiciary and parliament, it is the LGBT community that is "suffering". "The people are unhappy that on one hand India is improving its foreign relations with other countries while on other hand it has abstained from voting in UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council)," Bharat said. LGBT supporters staged a march singing the popular number "We shall overcome". The Indian government had this week avoided taking a position on the need to end discrimination based on sexual orientation at the Human Rights Council, saying the Supreme Court is yet to “pronounce” on the issue of rights of LGBT persons.