This 15th August, while the country ushered in its 73rd year of Independence, the LGBTQIA+ community in India celebrated its first Independence Day by releasing their own version of the National Anthem, and noting ‘a new era of independence’.
When the Supreme Court of India partially struck down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalised homosexuality, it enabled the LGBTQIA+ community to openly express their sexuality.
Here’s the lowdown
The film was created by Humsafar Trust, a forerunner in the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights in Asia, in collaboration with IPG Mediabrands India. It was released on Independence Day 2019, in honour of the activists and advocates who have struggled for equality and who ‘inspired the change’.
It features a rendition of the National Anthem, with prominent personalities—like Founder and Chairperson of Humsafar Trust Ashok Row Kavi, filmmaker Onir, Founder of The Naz Foundation Anjali Gopalan, among others—standing with pride for it.
Check out the video here!
The Humsafar Trust shared the video with expressions of joy at celebrating the first Independence Day with the LGBTQIA+ community.
On 6th Sep 2018, the SC to read down #Section377 delivering true freedom to millions within our country. Today we celebrate our 1st #IndependenceDay with the #LGBTQIA community & #StandWithPride for our country & its people. Share this message of unity! https://t.co/UEACAbMJi7
— Humsafar Trust (@HumsafarTrust) August 14, 2019
The video was received with celebratory praise from Twitterati. Filmmaker Apurva Asrani, who is also a part of the video, tweeted:
Never thought I'd live to see the day when such a beautiful & dignified #NationalAnthem releases. It features many LGBTQ Indians who were wrongly deemed as criminals till a year ago. Thankyou @HumsafarTrust for holding us all together🌈💗. #standwithpridehttps://t.co/mvknjpmnu9
— Apurva (@Apurvasrani) August 14, 2019
He later shared that the National Anthem film would be played in ‘all PVR Cinemas in 8 metros’ on Independence Day.
Thrilled that this beautifully produced #NationalAnthem will play in all @_PVRCinemas across 8 metros today. This is the first time in history that India will #standwithpride with its LGBTQ. Happy Independence day 💕. Thanks @HumsafarTrust @BaruaSrija🌈💗https://t.co/mvknjpmnu9
— Apurva (@Apurvasrani) August 15, 2019
The All India Mahila Congress came out in support of the initiative, alluding to the fact that it featured those Indians, ‘who were called criminals’ until recently.
First LGBTQ #NationalAnthem is here & we are melting
This beautiful rendition of our anthem by @HumsafarTrust features LGBTQ Indians who were called criminals
We at Mahila Congress #StandWithPride🌈💗.#MeraHindustanMeraAbhimanhttps://t.co/ixaPzMuv0fhttps://t.co/ixaPzMuv0f
— All India Mahila Congress (@MahilaCongress) August 14, 2019
Despite attitudes changing slowly, people in India still face discrimination based on their sexuality. We, as a country, have a long way to go to further the conversation on PRIDE. In such an environment, this beautiful and heartwarming video provides inspiration and support to everyone. What a great time to be alive!