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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > August 2019 > LEGAL AT LAST

LEGAL AT LAST

Hotelier Keshav Suri was at the forefront of the battle to quash India’s 150-year-old homophobic legislation

In September last year, history was made and millions rejoiced as India’s Supreme Court finally decriminalised homosexuality by ruling section 377 of the penal code unconstitutional. The verdict, predicted to directly affect more than 100 million people (estimates suggest that eight per cent of India’s population may be LGBTQ), concludes a long battle against homophobia.

When the ruling was announced, Supreme Court Judge Indu Malhotra commented: “History owes an apology to the members of this community and their families… for the ignominy and ostracism that they have sufered through the centuries.”

Present in the courtroom was hotelier Keshav Suri, one of several whose writ petitions had brought India’s LGBTQ community to the precipice of liberty. “I went in with a sense of ‘We’ve won’,” he tells Attitude. “I was internally screaming ‘Yass!’ I wanted to do backlips and the splits and I wanted to kiss the judges.

“It was the biggest vindication. We were in tears. It’s not something you can put into words, it still gives me goosebumps and makes me want to cry because it’s something that was so expected yet so unexpected.”

”It’s nice to know we can’t be arrested just for loving who we love. A burden has been lifted”

India has had a long journey towards decriminalising homosexuality. Section 377 was introduced in 1864, during British rule, and being gay is still viewed by some as a “Western disease” — despite the fact that depictions of homosexual sex can be seen on ancient temples.

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About Attitude

On the cover: RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Yvie Oddly Inside: The 1973 arson attack that left 32 dead. Plus: Lyra McKee, Andrew Moffat of the Birmingham School protests and all the Attitude Pride Awards 2019 winners.