As the Gay Pride month, June, approaches, Chennai is getting ready to host its third Rainbow Pride and renew its demand to the Supreme Court for upholding the Delhi High Court decision decriminalising homosexuality.

June is the month celebrating visibility of alternative sexualities and gender identities. Chennai joined the international community in doing so three years ago, starting with a Lesbian Gay Bi-sexual Transgender Pride march. Since last year, the actual march has been preceded by a month-long schedule of activities to increase awareness about alternate sexualities.

This year, the community has emphasised the urgency for the Supreme Court to uphold the historic verdict of July 2009 when the Delhi High Court read down IPC Section 377 (unnatural offences) to exclude consensual relationships among adults of the same sex.

By doing so the Supreme Court would secure the fundamental rights of the Indian LGBT community to live with dignity, equality and freedom of expression, L. Ramakrishnan, said on behalf of the Chennai Rainbow Pride collective of organisations.

Several formal and informal NGOs working in the areas of alternate sexuality, health, human rights have come together to observe the June pride month in Chennai. The month-long series of events will comprise a panel discussion on LGBT issues, sensitisation programme for psychologists and counsellors, a meeting of parents of LGBT children, poster-making sessions, and film screenings. The show will culminate in the Chennai Rainbow Pride march to be held on June 26. The calendar of events is online at http://chennaipride.orinam. net

Rudrashree, also of the collective, said it is important for families to value the desires of their LGBT wards as natural and normal, and allow them the freedom to choose their expression in terms of attire, romance and life partners and not force them into heterosexual relationships.

Sankari said the unit also called for an immediate end to the epidemic of violence and discrimination perpetrated against LGBT people, sex workers and others marginalised on grounds of sexuality.

Sameer Ghunakikar of the collective said a lot of awareness had to be generated among medical professionals who still use shock therapy and drug therapy in an attempt to realign the sexual orientation of LGBT people.