The Cognizant Citizen: Queer Chronicles


A Chapter In Pride


The road to LGBTQ+ rights has been defined by remarkable perseverance, fortitude, and several landmarks. While the hardships and injustices encountered by the LGBTQ+ community must not be disregarded, it is also critical to recognise the significant progress made in recent decades.


This article strives to highlight the good history of LGBTQ+ rights by shining a focus on the incredible advances, inspirational personalities, and revolutionary societal transformations that have produced a more inclusive society.


A Soviet Saga In Equality

20th June 2023. 

A historic and momentous day for Estonia. In a significant step towards greater equality, the Estonian Parliament voted to legalise same-sex marriage, making it the first Baltic country to do so. 

The new legislation will come into force on 1st January 2024. It expands existing partnership recognition in Estonia by amending the 2016 Family Law Act, which allowed for same-sex civil unions and recognized same-sex marriages which were performed abroad. 

Under the recent amendment, same-sex couples will also have the choice to marry and adopt children. 

Estonia has an anti-LGBTQ+ past and struggles to move on from the Soviet Era.  Same-sex relationships were a criminal act, “punishable by up to ten years in prison”, until the law was revoked in May 1992. A poll conducted by the Estonian Human Rights Centre showed that 53% of the population supports the LGBTQ+ community.

“My message is that it’s a difficult fight,” Kaja Kallas, the prime minister of Estonia, said, “but marriage and love is something that you have to promote.”


A Latvian Legacy of Acceptance

Stopping by Estonia’s close neighbour, lawmakers in Latvia have chosen the previous Foreign Minister, Edgars Rinkēvičs as the country’s new president, making him the first openly homosexual Head of State in the European Union. He formally came out in 2014, becoming the first Latvian political figure to do so. 


The election of the 49-year-old was made official in the Latvian Capital, Riga, as pride celebrations kicked off. Gay rights activists widely celebrated his election across Europe. He won by a slim majority of 52 out of 100 votes on the third ballot. 

After the election, the Latvian LGBTQ+ advocacy group Mozaika and Riga Pride released a joint statement saying they were elated about the election.

…We are hopeful that he will stand behind his promise to have human rights and democracy as one of his priorities, and we believe he will play an instrumental role in strengthening Latvia’s society and will make it safer not just for the LGBTQ+ community but for many vulnerable groups,” they say. 


The president has a multitude of responsibilities, such as representing Latvia abroad, acting as the supreme commander of the armed forces and signing bills into law.

Although his election has sparked mixed opinions, he is set for the Presidential inauguration on 8th July 2023. 



Nepal’s notable step towards Tolerance

Let’s hop over to a new continent altogether. Nepal has made same-sex marriage legal temporarily as recently as June 28, 2023. It was done in accordance with a 1-0 ruling from the Supreme Court. Efforts to include legislation for the LGBTQ+ community have been initiated since 2011 and 2012, as the country underwent a political transition. 

A Constitution was approved by the Constituent Assembly on 16th September 2015, which included several provisions pertaining to the rights of LGBTQ+ people, but no official word legalizing same-sex marriage.

Although no national law has been passed yet, a single judge bench of Justice Til Prasad Shrestha legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country. 

Nepal also celebrates an Annual Pride Parade every year on the second Sunday of June. There was a march from Shanti Batika at Ratnapark to Narayan Chaur in Kathmandu, which was complete with festivities and celebrations. All in all, an eventful Pride Month for Nepal!


India’s Calling for Inclusion.

Finally coming to our own country, India. A tumultuous turn of events occurred in mid-April 2023. The hearing was presided over by 5 senior judges: Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices S K Kaul, S R Bhat, Hima Kohli and P S Narasimha. They heard around 40-hour-long arguments from 12 lawyers, spanning over 10 days. 


The Supreme Court’s verdict on the hearing has been reserved on this front, which was cited as the biggest change in a generation. The LGBTQIA+ community in India continues to fight for their rights with fervour and perseverance. 

Reflecting on this incredible journey, we must remember that the battle for LGBTQ+ rights is far from done. Despite significant progress, issues remain, including persistent discrimination, violence, and the need for expanded legal safeguards.

However, by recognising and celebrating the good history of LGBTQ+ rights, we can fuel the momentum for further progress, promoting a society where everyone is free to be themselves.


Written by Dhriti Bharadwaj for MTTN 

Edited by Vaishnavi Katiya for MTTN 

Featured Image by Vox

Images by Reuters, Sourojeet Paul and The Washington Post



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