CHENNAI: A month ahead of Chennai’s eighth Rainbow Pride March, members of the LGBTQ community say they want the Tamil Nadu Government to take the lead on amending Section 377. “Ever since the Supreme court ruling in 2013, there’s been a lot of fear and manyhave gone back into the closet,” says Vikram-soon-to-be-Delphina, volunteer, Tamil Nadu Rainbow Coalition (TNRC) at an event to announce the March slated for June 26.
The coalition is an umbrella body comprising NGOs, collectives and individuals working toward gender and sexual equality in the State. The other demands raised by the TNRC were that the Central and State Governments implement in entirety the five Central schemes announced by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment under the NALSA judgement of April 15, 2014, and reactivate the TN Aravani Welfare Board and restructure it as the TN Transgender Welfare Board.
Events like cultural performances, sensitisation programmes on sexuality and gender identity and support meetings for parents, will be organised through the month of June, as a run up to the March. “This year’s highlight is the screening of award-winning documentary Mathew Shepard is a Friend of Mine, a story on the brutal murder of a gay student in the US,” said a member of the TNRC.
Organised by the US Consulate, the screening, open to a private audience, will be followed by a panel discussion with filmmaker Michele Josue, ambassador Randy Berry, the first US diplomat for LGBT Rights, and Judy Shephard, mother of Mathew Shepard from Washington DC.