The Delhi High Court Decision has given Sydney’s ex-pat Indian gay and lesbian community cause for celebration.
I had tears and goose bumps when I heard the news. For many of us here in Sydney it has been a momentous day, a victory for human rights and the knowledge that India has moved on, said Alan Maurice, co-founder of Trikone Australia, an Indian support and activist organisation.
This law is changing the hearts and minds of millions of Indians. However there is a lot of cultural baggage to unpack so the entire process will take time.
Trikone played its part in lobbying for change by organising a petition against Section 377 when they held a South Asian Film Festival in 2008.
We then sent the petition to Ashhok Row-Kavi, a key gay activist in India who is very influential. He responded by saying that he was very pleased to have received it, said Alan.
It will be a matter of time to see whether the Court decision will create a snowball effect across the rest of India and onto other former British colonies where similar laws remain on statute.
Rosanna Flamer-Caldera is the Executive Director Sri Lanka’s leading activist group, EQUAL GROUND.
I’m thrilled at this decision. It has taken a long time to reach this stage and our colleagues in India have worked hard for nearly a decade to complete this historic task. We are celebrating Colombo Pride here in Sri Lanka this week and we now have more to be proud of, said Rosanna.
This decision gives us a lot of hope, that one day we can have a similar decision. A change in the law is not going to change attitudes over night but having the law on our side means that we can at least enjoy equal protection, which we do not have now.
We can now use India as a prime example and hope that our entreaties to the Government to repeal the sodomy law will at least have substance, in their eyes, and be considered seriously.
India’s neighbour to the east is Bangladesh. Quazi Haque is the founder of the first gay Bangladeshi support network, Boys of Bangladesh or BOB.
We are celebrating the Delhi High Court ruling like our friends in India. This court ruling will have great impact on the lives of gay people in Bangladesh as well. Like India, Bangladesh inherited the same Section377 from the British rule, said Quazi.
Quazi hopes to use the Indian precedent when BOB mounts a challenge in the Bangladeshi courts.
For the last three years BOB has been discussing a challenge of 377 in our Court system but waited on the outcome of the Delhi case, he said.
Often lawyers in one country quote rulings of a court in the other. We can now quote this Delhi High Court ruling when arguing our case in the Bangladesh High Court. This ruling gave us real hope that we can win our case.
There is a huge difference between having and not having Section 377 on statue.
After homosexuality is decriminalised in my country, I believe there will be a change in the negative view of homosexuality amongst the general Bangladeshi people.