Social Issues

New Dehli moves closer to hosting India’s first LGBTQ+ community center

New Delhi, Feb 12 (EFE).- New Delhi is closer to hosting India’s first LGTBQ+ community center after a fundraising event held on Sunday as a historic decision from the country’s supreme court on same-sex marriages looms.

“The idea is to create a community center to support the LGTBQ+ community, and that there be a center to help them, to guide them, to educate them, to protect them,” the Mexican ambassador to India, Federico Salas, told Efe after hosting the fundraiser at his official residence.

Salas expressed his hope that the event, which was a silent auction that included a broad range of offerings including artworks and hotel rooms, will allow “kickstarting the structuring of the center so that in the not too distant future it can start operating.”

Following the historic decision of India’s supreme court to decriminalize homosexuality in 2018, the LGBTQ+ community has been calling for a center of this nature in the capital, New Delhi, Anjali Gopalan, executive director of the Naz foundation told Efe.

“For many years, we did run a center earlier drop-in space, but it was specifically for MSM. And then once other groups started coming up and coming into existence and post section 377 being read down, yes, we felt that maybe we don’t need to do a drop in space anymore,” said Gopalan, whose foundation played an important role in the decriminalization of homosexuality in the Asian country.

“But there was so much pressure from the community” to create a center, Gopalan adds, Naz decided to push for an inclusive center for the LGTBQ+ community.

Gopalan stressed the need to give space to lesbian and bisexual women, who “have been left out of the discourse totally.”

The activist added that she hopes to raise all the necessary funds by September 2023, a figure that according to John Connolly, the coordinator of popular LGTBQ+ meetups in New Delhi known as “InsideOut”, amounts to 2.5 million rupees (some $303,000).

“Our objective for today is to raise 200,000 rupees (about $24,200) (…) and the overall the overall objective of the center is to raise 2.5 crore ($300,000),” Connolly said.

The event came at a time of hope for India’s LGBTQ+ community, after several petitions to recognize same-sex marriages were accepted by India’s highest court.

“There is a lot of hope. It took us 18 years to get rid of section 377, I hope it doesn’t take another 18 years to make it happen,” Gopalan said. EFE


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