The organizers of the annual Pune LGBT pride walk in India have confirmed that police has signed off permission for the march to go ahead this Sunday (7 August).
The theme for this year’s walk is ‘LGBTI Inclusivity in the Workplace’. Bindumadhav Khire, president of Samapathik Trust – the LGBT advocacy group that organises the event, said in a phonecall to GSN that the theme was chosen for several reasons.
‘We get asked about it a lot – about workplace issues and discrimination at the workplace, or how people can bring LGBT issues into workplace policies, or how corporates can help advance LGBT issues in the workplace.’
Same-sex sexual activity is criminalized in India by Section 377 of India’s Penal Code.
The section was suspended in 2009 but reintroduced in 2013. LGBTI campaigners have been attempting to have the law repealed since then. In late June, the India Supreme Court refused to hear a petition challenging the law.
Earlier this year, a study concluded that homphobia was ‘rampant’ in Indian workplaces and the recriminalization of same-sex sexual activity had worsened the situation as people feel less able to come out at work.
Khire believes that employers have a role to play in helping to advance LGBT rights.
‘I would like more corporations to be open about their LGBT inclusivity. Because of Section 377, most of the corporates are hesitant to promote their LGBT inclusivity. Unless Section 377 gets addressed, I can’t see that changing.’
Pune, in the state of Maharashtra, is the ninth most populous city in India.
The Pune Pride Walk is now in its sixth year. It began with just under 100 participants but the 2015 event drew a crowd of around 450, says Khire. This year’s walk will begin at 10.30am in Sambhaji Park (J.M. Road), Pune on Sunday.