By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com February 05 2014 5:13 PM ET
In a powerful visual display of solidarity and outrage, LGBT Indians and their allies turned out in record numbers for the annual pride celebration in Mumbai on Saturday.
An estimated 5,000 people — both Indian citizens and visitors from abroad — descended upon Mumbai's August Kranti Maidan, where the pro-LGBT march began. The seventh annual pride celebration, known as the Queer Azaadi March, was the first pride event to take place since India's Supreme Court reinstated a colonial-era law in December that criminalizes gay sex, or any "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with man, woman, or animal," imposing 10-year prison sentences on those who violate the law. Vocativ reports that "Azaadi" is Hindu for "freedom."
One participant expertly summed up the Indian LGBT community's collective outrage at the Supreme Court's decision to reinstate the 150-year-old law known as Section 377 of India's Penal Code, and the high court's subsequent dismissal of activists' petition for reconsideration last month.
"We are warriors against 377," said a man donning a cape and faux body armor. "And that's what we need to do now, because now the battle has gone bigger, with the Supreme Court also rejecting our review petition."
"It takes away my right to dignity," continued the activist, who is not identified in the video below from Vocativ. "My right to privacy — it infringes on that as well. And it makes me feel like a criminal in my own country."
In its initial ruling and its subsequent denial to reconsider, the Supreme Court said it was up to the nation's parliament to repeal the law, declaring that a 2009 ruling from a court in New Delhi struck down the law without the constitutional authority to do so.
Watch the video below.