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Gays march in New Delhi

NEW DELHI, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- About 2,000 gays and lesbians and their supporters paraded in New Delhi Sunday, marking their first major gathering since homosexuality was legalized in India.

The Indo-Asian News Service reported the marchers, led by two men riding a pink scooter and holding balloons, waved rainbow-colored flags and banners while swaying to drum beats during the third annual Delhi gay pride parade. Still, some wore multicolored masks to conceal their identities.

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Among the signs they carried included "All we need is love," "Come out and play" and "Straight but not narrow."

A large contingent of police kept a watchful eye on the peaceful festivities.

"Not only lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders participated, many other people also came out," Mohnish Malhotra, one of the event organizers, said. "The most heartening thing is that families of many members of LGBT community also came to support them. Slowly things are changing."

He said the marchers also were protesting bias against homosexuals.

"The community is often subjugated to violence by police and thugs," he said. "They are blackmailed and forced into marriage by families, which leads to suicides."

Amitava Sarkar, a transgender activist, told Asia News International gays still face many problems in India.

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"It actually starts from family level, then school level," Sarkar said. "We cannot get right to education, then at jobs also, we cannot get the respect. Even in service areas, we cannot get any kind of services for a person like a trans, or me, who is quite feminine."

As Bharat, a lawyer who came out last year, told The Times of India, more homosexuals are revealing their sexual orientation.

"No one wanted to hide behind a mask," Bharat said.

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