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From progress in same-sex marriage laws to LGBTQ pride and protests, 2017 was a landmark year

This article is part of our 2017: A Year In Review series

Goodbye, 2017. You’ve been an exhausting one.

Could I really recap these 300-odd days into a 900-word blog? I’ll try, because no one wants to be bored with a history lesson as they plan their last weekend of debauchery.

Let’s get it straight. 2017 has been nothing but endlessly eventful, mostly for the better, but also for the worse. Since focusing on the former is a great way to say goodbye to the year, here’s a great place to start. Section 377 might still loom over our (rather pretty) heads, but 2017 had a few pots of gold at the end of the proverbial rainbow:

India celebrated a decade of Pride, with pride

Across the nation, Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai all completed ten years of the LGBT Pride parade. That’s a decade of colour, a decade of being fabulous, a decade of fighting back, but most importantly, a decade of actually walking the talk.

 From progress in same-sex marriage laws to LGBTQ pride and protests, 2017 was a landmark year

Happy faces at Mumbai's Pride parade this year, which completed 10 years. Image from Facebook/@qam.mumbaipride

With a record-breaking footfall of 10,000 at Mumbai’s queer parade in February – and the numbers only grow every year – 2017 was a major milestone, because it also marked Chandigarh and Bhopal’s first every LGBT Pride walk – and that’s only going to open more avenues and routes (pun intended) in other cities around the country.

But this is where we need to take a stand; especially when the movement is on its way to becoming a national phenomenon. See, we might have finished a decade of walking for Pride, but we still have miles of discussions that still need to see the light of day.

PS: How about we begin by starting a conversation about bullying and mudslinging within the LGBT community, shall we?

Australia said YEAH to Marriage Equality

… And it wasn’t the only nation to do so. Germany and Malta joined the ranks of the 26 nations across the world that legalised same-sex marriage, proving that if you look deep enough (into a country’s constitution), there’s still some good left in this world.

Germany legalised same-sex marriage in July this year. Image from Reuters

Germany legalised same-sex marriage in July this year. Image from Reuters

As for the stacks and stacks of regressive laws and obsolete ordinances back home in India? We’ll just pretend they don’t exist.

Right To Privacy became a public affair

I may be an open book, but I’ve never liked the right to privacy more than I do right now.

In August 2017, the Supreme Court ruled that a person’s sexual orientation is protected under the Constitution’s right to privacy provisions. This legal experts believe, will finally lead to the repeal of Section 377 which criminalises acts of homosexuality – making the fight for LGBTQIA rights a lot easier, and our brows and shoulders a lot lighter.

Intersex people weren’t all that invisible anymore

Halfway across the word – the Trump administration notwithstanding – America’s first Intersex birth certificate was issued in New York, heralding a new age for acceptance (and happiness for generations of confused kids in the future).

Here’s to finally putting the I in LGBTQIA!

We made some major progress in pop culture

2017 was big for LGBT visibility in pop culture.

The poster for Sisak, India's first silent LGBTQ love story. Image from Facebook/@sisak.thefilm

The poster for Sisak, India's first silent LGBTQ love story. Image from Facebook/@sisak.thefilm

Films like Sisak and Loev made their (equally fabulous) debut, with gay characters that made for strong, empowering (and rather attractive) leads, instead of being shuttled to the background as limp-wristed, sequined props. (R.I.P every gay character in every Karan Johar movie ever. May your caricaturised self never rise again.)

A whole bunch of famous people stepped out of the closet

A ton of celebrities came out of the closet this year – including Aaron Carter, Lil Peep, Brandon Flynn from 13 Reasons Why, and Shannon Purser from Stranger Things – and there hasn’t been any looking back ever since.

Since greater visibility leads to greater equality, each famous person that steps out is a step up for the LGBTQIA community (with the notable exception of Kevin Spacey, who is a global disgrace), opening not only doors, but also windows for others to follow suit.

And people stepped out onto the streets to support change

In January this year, LGBT folk all over the world helped turn the Women’s March into the largest day of protest across multiple nations, but that was only the beginning. Throughout the year, Pride parades were replaced with resistance marches – and hundreds took to the streets protesting against bad governance, regressive laws, internalised homophobia, mass shootings, sexual discrimination and the anti-gay purge in Chechnya.

A member of the LGBT community protests outside the Russian embassy against constant discrimination and violence against the gay community in Chechnya, in Mexico City. Image from Reuters

A member of the LGBT community protests outside the Russian embassy against constant discrimination and violence against the gay community in Chechnya, in Mexico City. Image from Reuters

2017 has not all been rainbows and sunshine though. The Transgender Persons Bill of 2016 is still a transgression back home, and Donald Trump continues to stump everyone in the United States, but mostly the LGBT community. (It shouldn’t come as a surprise when I say that Trump is the most explicitly Anti-LGBTQIA president in US history.) In fact, LGBT relationships are still illegal in around 74 countries around the world.

And yet, 2017 wasn’t a year of complacency – it was anything but. Because that’s the thing – we are most certainly here, we are definitely queer and getting everyone around us used to it in what has been a bittersweet year. It’s been a long year, but we won’t give up. The fight will march on.

As for 2018, bring it on.
We’ll be waiting with a mimosa (or ten).

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Updated Date: Dec 31, 2017 14:55:52 IST