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TNT News | September 07, 2018

‘Freedom is in the air and Love sees no Gender’- slogans like these and more reverberated the spirits of young members from the LGBTQIA community in Shillong a day after the honourable Supreme Court’s landmark judgement of partially scraping Section 377 of the Indian Constitution. A five-judge Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court in four separate but concurring judgments legalised same-sex relations between consenting adults.

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Expressing happiness while speaking to TNT- The Northeast Today, an LGBTQIA activist Jared Massar said, “I am really proud that the Supreme Court took such a decision. This is such a big step for the queer liberation movement. Now we can work better towards protecting our community as well as the children from bullying. The queer community has suffered enough violence and we are happy that the SC has upheld humanity. We want people to know that we exist in Shillong and one should not be afraid to come out and face the world with us”.

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Another  LGBTQIA activist Dona Marwein said, “Since the Supreme Court has now given a verdict that is applicable to the entire country, we now want that even our state undergoes this change of mindset and accept us as human beings like everybody else. Even we are human beings and we are not from another planet and we deserve a humane treatment’.

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Voices of ‘Love sees no gender’ and ‘Freedom is in the air’ echoed Don Bosco Square in Shillong with not only the members of LGBTQIA but also supporters of the same showing their solidarity with the community.

Jack Lyngwa, a member as well as an activist of the LGBTQIA community expressed his satisfaction by stating, ” God made whoever we are and it is our duty to respect everybody irrespective of who or what we are. Humanity is above all religion and I hope that the society will also accept this judgement with open arms now.”

National Award Winning film maker and poet from Shillong Tarun Bhartiya said, “Its a very historic day as the 150-yr-old British law which criminalized people’s private lives has finally been done away with. This is a very important judgement not only because it will now make the lives better of certain sections of society but also it is a step towards changing the peoples’ mindset. The Chief justice of India himself said that no law in the country can me based on majoritarian principles. Law has to be based on constitutional moralities which means in our country everyone has freedom to be treated equally by everyone else and this verdict by the Supreme Court definitely calls for a celebration. This celebration is symbolic of the fact that people are out, they are proud and above all, they are happy!”.

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The celebration in Shillong saw the participation from more than 20 members including LGBTQIA members as well as supporters. Although the street celebration was earlier scheduled to be held at Khyndailad from 4 pm onwards today, the venue was changed at the last moment to Don Bosco Square as they were denied permission to hold the celebration in the aforementioned venue.

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Although the actual figures on the number of LGBTQ members is not available, statistics with an NGO working with the community reveal that the active population in Shillong is around 270.

“Of these 270, 20 are transgenders and the remaining are MSMs (men having sex with men). We are also planning to organise a celebration in the coming days to welcome the judgment,” a programme manager of the NGO had earlier informed a national daily

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