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Soham Gupta | 12 Dec 2013 11:07 GMT
India's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community has reacted with shock and horror to Wednesday's Supreme Court ruling, reinstating a ban on gay sex.
Hundreds have poured onto the streets across cities since then, expressing their collective outrage at the verdict they say drags the community back into "medieval ages".
While calls grow for rescinding the ruling, politicians, legal luminaries and actors alike, have joined the chorus of criticism on the ban on "sex between two consenting adults".
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The top court's ruling ends a brief interlude when the much-misunderstood LGBT community felt they had a rightful place in the country. A High Court in 2009 had struck down a law that criminalized gay sex with long jail terms, and unshackled them to lead normal lives.
But its back to square one now, and the LGBT community is bracing for a fresh protracted battle to earn back its rights.
It's the toughest for the transgender community to live in a social milieu that has very little understanding of them and subjects them to regular ridicule.
For years, they have loudly proclaimed that they were perfectly normal human beings, albeit with a different sexual orientation. But as society struggles to understand and embrace them, transgenders continue to live on the margins.
They laugh, cry, love, despise, dream, despair and do everything else as everyone else does. Only, life seems a lot tougher for transgenders with mindsets stacked against them.
Madhu with her boyfriend Arindam. The couple has been together for quite a few years and live in a suburb of Kolkata in eastern India with their dog.
Soham Gupta/ Al Jazeera
Pinki works as a beautician. She says if she earns more, she would like to repair her home and buy new clothes.
Aanchal is a member of a non-profit organisation which attempts to empower transgender women to live their lives with dignity. She says she lives a happy, romantic and responsible life.
Bitan works at times as a cook.
Siddhartha works as a make-up artist, even helping local film stars to look good.
Taniya, right, begs at traffic signals to earn her living. Her body was scarred few years ago in an accident in the kitchen.
Supriya counsels members of the community and also tries to sensitise others about people like her.
Meena earns her living as a beggar. Asked who she loved the most, she says: (***)My mummy, of course".
Raina had worked for the rights of the transgender community.
Sohini works for a non profit organization outside Calcutta.
Sonali has big dreams about her future. Here, she poses with her boyfriend.
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