Free 'Queer Hugs' Offered In India Following Decriminalisation Of Homosexuality

Members of India's LGBT+ community have offered 'free queer hugs' less than a week after the country decriminalised homosexuality.

Three people in India hold placards offering free hugs.
Image: Facebook: Mobbera Foundation

An LGBT+ group offered free ‘queer hugs’ at an event in Hyderabad in Southern India. Up to 50 members of The Mobbera Foundation held placards offering free hugs from the LGBT+ community to passers-by. The placards read: “I’m queer, feel free to hug me”, “Yes, I’m bisexual. Will you hug me?” and, “If you’re OK with my sexuality, will you hug me?”. The event took place less than a week after the Indian Supreme Court overturned Section 377. The 158 year-old colonial-era law banned homosexual acts.

The free hugs event normally runs twice a year, though this particular event marked the first time the demonstration ran without intervention from the police. Anil Kohli, the Vice President of The Mobbera Foundation told PinkNews: “Two years back we were asked to stop by police – but fortunately now, it’s changed and the police are friendly”.

Image of two men hugging in India.

Before Section 377 was overturned, a same-sex relationship was deemed an “unnatural offence” and was punishable by a 10-year jail term.

Kohli said the main focus of the event was to ask members of the wider community: “The law has accepted us. Will you?”

The Mobbera Foundation was founded in 2015 and serves to unite the LGBT+ community in India. In a Facebook post the group said: “Millions and millions of years would still not give us half enough time to describe that tiny instant of all eternity when you put your arms around us and we put our arms around you.

“Hug the differences out. Accept us as we are, we are no different, we are perfect the way we are.”

Kohli was pleased with how the event turned out, noting that the volunteers received support from the community, as well as the police force. While he feels that local attitudes have not changed drastically, he is optimistic about the future of LGBT+ people in India.

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