27 Foreign Diplomats Come Together and Pledge Support for LGBTI Rights, Say Pressure to Change Section 377 Must Come From Within

In the aftermath of the Orlando Shooting in USA, in a very unusual move that will put the Indian Government in a spot, foreign missions of 26 countries and the European Union came together in New Delhi to reaffirm their commitment to LGBTI rights.

The 27 diplomats had gathered at the American Centre in New Delhi and also paid their tributes to the victims of the Orlando Shooting. They also talked about their personal experiences of facing/dealing with homophobia. June is celebrated as the Pride Month to commemorate the Stonewall Riots, which started pride marches across the world.

The embassies of Germany, USA, France, Italy, Japan, Austria, Argentina, Brazil Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the Australian, British and Canadian High Commissions and a Delegation of the European Union were present at the American Centre yesterday, according to a report in DNA.

A statement issued by the diplomats read: “At home, and increasingly abroad, many countries support, organize, or participate in events to celebrate the diversity of their citizens, to reduce discrimination and misinformation about the LGBTI community, to build on individual and collective achievements, and to highlight what needs to be done to ensure fundamental human dignity of all individuals and full equality for all human beings regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

An IANS report quotes EU delegation to India counsellor Thibault Devanlay as saying, “We are not asking for any special rights for LGBTI citizens but basic human rights.”

Over the next two weeks, the embassies will be holding various pride events as well. The campaign will involve the missions flying the rainbow flag of the LGBTI movement alongside their national banners, lighting up their buildings in those colours at night and holding panel discussions and seminars and showing films on the rights of the community, read a report in The Telegraph.

While none of the diplomats criticized India over the archaic Section 377, according to a report in The Hindu, the European Diplomat while referring to Section 377 said, “This cannot happen (with pressure) from outside, from us, but had to come from inside.” The Hindu also quoted U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Michael Pelletier as saying, “Every country advances in its own way based on different priorities,” adding that decriminalisation of non-peno-vaginal sex was a “question that India is dealing with.”

Sukhdeep Singh