Delhi Diplomats send gay message

A fortnight-long campaign was launched to celebrate alternative sexualities

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June 20, 2016

/ By / New Delhi

India & You

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The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community has found a new and a strong messiah in foreign diplomats posted in New Delhi.

Diplomats posted in more than two dozen foreign embassies and high commissions have launched a fortnight-long campaign to celebrate alternative sexualities. The campaign was kicked off at the American Centre on Friday.

Besides US, Germany, France, the UK, Italy, Ireland, Austria, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Czech Republic, Croatia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Japan and Australia are also in the group.

Planned events in New Delhi include, among others,  LGBT film screenings, lectures, and other social functions. Most importantly the campaign will involve the lighting of embassies in the iconic colors of the LGBT rainbow flag and hoisting the rainbow flag on the embassies flagpoles.

In the joint statement issued by Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Canada, U.K., USA, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Spain and Sweden amongst others, diplomats recorded that “India has long recognised a community of five to six million third gender Indians as citizens.” However, the statement itself, a first of its kind, made no mention of India’s laws, or discrimination against homosexuals and other LGBT citizens. In India it is a criminal offence and banned and punishabe under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.

At the American Centre the diplomats also hoped that India would decriminalise gay sex and repeal the colonial law.”We are not asking for any special rights for LGBT citizens but basic human rights,” said EU delegation to India counsellor Thibault Devanlay.

The joint statement issued by the diplomats, believe these diverse celebrations will foster a sense of community and belonging, and help to advance human rights for all throughout the world.

Many countries organize marches, lectures, and events to celebrate in the month of June, sometimes called Pride Month in honour of the Stonewall Riots that are described as the start of the LGBT movement in the United States.

LGBT diplomats posted in India are familiar with the challenges Indian law poses. The Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Privileges extends diplomatic immunity – from Indian law – to spouses and legally recognised partners of foreign diplomats posted in a UN member country.

So far India has refused to extend diplomatic immunity to same-sex partners and spouses of foreign diplomats here.

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