section 377
British envoy hosts LGBTQ reception.

British deputy high commissioner in Bengaluru, Jeremy Pilmore-Bedford, hosted a reception in Bengaluru on Friday (27 September) to celebrate the first anniversary of the Section 377 judgement when a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Indian Supreme Court on 6 September 2018 read down the provisions of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and decriminalised consensual same-sex relations.

The British deputy high commissioner met members of the LGBTQ community, counsellors and community supporters, in Bengaluru and said the UK is committed to non-discrimination on any grounds, including sexual orientation and gender identity.

Members of the LGBTQ community such as popular Kannada writer and counsellor Vasudhendra, NGOs Payana, Sangama, and Pride Circle attended the reception and shared views on how the judgement has affected the community and shared ideas about future engagements to strengthen the community members to lead dignified lives.

The UK has a proud record in advancing equality. From changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry to introducing the world's first transgender action plan in 2011, the UK has been at the forefront of change. The UK is a founder member of the new Equal Rights Coalition (ERC), which brings together 39 countries committed to working together to promote LGBTQ equality globally. The ERC was launched at the Global LGBTQ Human Rights Conference in Montevideo in July 2016. The UK joined the ERC's Executive Committee in January 2018.

Section 377 verdict
An activist of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community celebrates after the Supreme Court's verdict of decriminalizing gay sex and revocation of the Section 377 law, in Bengaluru, India, September 6, 2018.REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

This year, the British High Commission in India is aiming to build capacities and legal awareness in the LGBTQ community and to create visibility and discussion around key issues in mainstream society and allies through various sensitisation and mainstreaming activities.