NEW DELHI: An excited 67-year-old P S Sahni reached the lawns of the Supreme Court early on Thursday to “feel the moment after 30 years”. Associated with AIDS Bhed Bhav Virodhi Andolan which took the battle against AIDS to the streets in late 1980s, he said, “Gays were called sodomisers back then. Hope the tag doesn’t stay.”
In 2018, sexuality should be celebrated and courts should speak of sexuality, he added as he waited for the verdict along with hundreds of others.
Once news of the apex court’s judgement decriminalising gay sex spread, the optimistic mood palpable since morning turned euphoric. Activists, students, LGBTQI community members and supporters cheered, held banners and showed victory signs to celebrate what they called the watershed moment. Some reflected quietly, saying it was an “overwhelming and emotional” moment.
Two Delhi University students standing quietly in the shade opened up after the verdict. “The first thought was we are not criminals anymore. It took a while for me to absorb the news,” said the MA student requesting anonymity. Her coming out to her parents would be easier now she hoped.
For Bhavya, a member of Nazariya - a collective advocating for LGBTQI rights, the news brought a sense of peace. “This is how it should have been from the beginning. It feels correct, dignified and there is a sense of security.” This view was echoed by LGBTQI activist Noor Enayat. “It’s relief, it’s joy but there is also an element of disbelief. More than that, there is the element of getting back one’s dignity, a sense of being allowed to love.”
As a transgender student at DU, Raabiya hoped the judgement would pave the way for civil liberties.
Social activist Swami Agnivesh who reached the grounds soon after the judgement said he welcomed the verdict.