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Gay pride events in three cities

June 30, 2008|From Times Wire Reports

Men wore sparkling saris, women draped rainbow boas and hundreds of people chanted for gay rights in three Indian cities in the largest display of gay pride in the deeply conservative country, where homosexual acts are illegal.

Gay rights supporters took to the streets of Kolkata, formerly Calcutta, Bangalore and New Delhi to call for an end to discrimination and push for acceptance in a society where intolerance is widespread.

"This is a national coming-out party," said Alok Gupta, a lawyer from Mumbai, as he stood among several hundred activists in New Delhi. "This is a simple thing: We are seeking the right to love."

The marches came days before the Delhi High Court is expected to hear arguments on overturning a law criminalizing homosexual sex that dates to the British colonial era.

The law is rarely enforced, but activists say it sanctions discrimination.

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