Their faces were unmasked.And the pride was stronger than ever.The third edition of the gay pride parade – the first after consensual homosexual relationships were decriminalised in the country – in the Capital on Sunday was an unusual display of confidence by the lesbian-gaybisexual-transgender (LGTB) community.Clad in rainbow colours and dancing to the sound of drums, the gathering marched from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar in Central Delhi with a different inclination.This time, they were celebrating their sexuality as against the previous years when they marched to assert their rights and protest against the criminalisation of samesex relationship.In July, last year, the Delhi High Court passed a landmark judgment revoking the controversial Section 377 of the Indian penal code that criminalised same-sex relationship.”I do not know or care about how social acceptance has changed after the high court verdict. But yes, I have changed. I feel more confident and I know that I am not doing anything wrong since the law of the land does not have a problem with it,” said Pooja (18), a student who wished to be identified just by her first name.”The judgment was a clarion call and asserted what we have been fighting for years now. But, I am a little disappointed by the turnout at the parade. I expected more to turn up to celebrate the anniversary,” said Vineet Trikha (30), a communication trainee who was there at the parade.The strongest evidence of the (slow but sure) change in the attitude of society towards the LGTB community was the presence of family members at the parade.advertisementWhile some made a proud proclamation of their support to their homosexual members of the family, others chose to stay on the sidelines and do the same tacitly.”My grandson is gay and he has the right to live his life the way he wants. I am an educated woman and I absolutely have no problem with it,” said Rani Sharma (65), who accompanied her grandson Sambhav Kumar Sharma to the parade and sported a placard making proud proclamation of his sexuality.”There was an initial shock. But he is a good boy and we have eventually come to accept this. Though our relatives still don’t know, I am here to support my child and his participation in the parade. I wasn’t here last year and I’ve come at my wife’s behest,” said a 45-year-old father on condition of anonymity.
FILE – In this Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015, file photo, Dallas Cowboys defensive end Greg Hardy arrives prior to an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills, in Orchard Park, N.Y. Former NFL defensive end Greg Hardy says he is “haunted” by his high-profile domestic violence past and wants to prove he has changed as he makes his debut in UFC, a promotion that hasn’t hesitated to embrace fighters with legal or drug problems. (AP Photo/Bill Wippert, File)NEW YORK — Greg Hardy’s eyes popped as he saw his name in bold print on the oversized placard that identified him as a UFC fighter.“That’s dope! It’s got my Twitter thing on it,” Hardy said with a laugh.ADVERTISEMENT Yes, his Twitter handle @greghardyjr was printed underneath his name to let fans know how to find the hulking heavyweight on social media. UFC enthusiasts and social media pundits had already pounced on the disgraced former NFL defensive end:— “he can beat up women that’s for sure.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine football chiefSPORTSWin or don’t eat: the Philippines’ poverty-driven, world-beating pool stars— “why is this woman beater in the UFC?”— “which woman fighter is he gonna beat up?” PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Keep scrolling and scrolling and the majority of the 240-character sentiments strike similar opinions: Hardy doesn’t deserve a chance to fight for UFC.Hardy understands those who want to wash their hands of someone arrested for assaulting a woman. While still playing football, Hardy was convicted in July 2014 of assaulting and threatening a woman who contended the 6-foot-4, 275-pounder threw her in a bathtub and onto a sofa covered with guns before threatening to kill her. He appealed, and prosecutors in North Carolina eventually dismissed domestic violence charges in February 2015, saying the accuser in the case couldn’t be found. The court heard the woman had reached a civil settlement with Hardy.“I do revisit the past at night,” Hardy said Thursday. “I’m haunted and I am a broken man. But at the end of the day, I’ve got to build myself back up.”Hardy wants to show he has changed as he makes his debut in UFC, a promotion that hasn’t hesitated to embrace fighters with legal or drug problems. His co-headline spot in a heavyweight bout Saturday night comes at a key moment for the MMA giant, its first show in its $1.5-billion contract with ESPN.Hardy played 12 football games in 2015 under a $13.1 million deal with the Cowboys before turning to professional fighting, where his rise has been rapid. The 30-year-old breezed through six fights — none lasting past the first round — and won a contract through a UFC reality show.ADVERTISEMENT Is Luis Manzano planning to propose to Jessy Mendiola? “I felt like that was the right thing for me to do,” he said. “I totally get it. I understand why people would have a hard time grasping the whole situation and why things happen. But I believe everything happens for a reason. I believe we can change our surroundings for a positive thing.”Hardy has had few positives since he had 15 sacks for the Carolina Panthers in 2013 when he was picked for the Pro Bowl. He was arrested on a cocaine possession charge in a Dallas suburb in 2016.“I’ve grown in every way possible and the people around me have helped me do that,” Hardy said. “Everything’s changed as far as the sport, the venues and myself. Please keep watching and find out for yourself.”Hardy hopped down the stage after the ceremonial staredown against Allen Crowder and gave White a big bro hug.But not all observers backed UFC’s decision to sign Hardy.“It’s quite offensive. It’s gross,” said Kiersten Stewart, director of public policy at Futures Without Violence, a national group that works to prevent domestic and sexual violence and child abuse. “It’s about making money off domestic violence. It really minimizes the harm that domestic violence does.”Stewart said Ostovich had every right to fight at Barclays Center with Hardy, but raised the question: “Why was she put in this position?”White said it was a moot point.“These are two UFC fighters and eventually they would have ended up on the same card anyway,” White said. “It could be this fight or it could be 10 fights from now.”Win or lose, Ostovich knows she’ll end her combat in the cage in tears. She’s been publicly stoic in the face of probing questions about her abuse and Hardy’s presence and is ready to let her emotions out once the bell rings. Through all the adversity, there was nowhere else she wanted to be but New York. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting MOST READ SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion Jhack Tepora spearheads PH fighters in Pacquiao-Broner undercard Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completion LATEST STORIES TS Kammuri to enter PAR possibly a day after SEA Games opening His debut comes one month after UFC allowed Jon Jones to compete following a positive drug test, moving an entire fight from Las Vegas to Los Angeles because Nevada regulators wouldn’t license the troubled superstar. It’s also several months after Dana White, UFC’s president, condemned Conor McGregor for his criminal act of throwing a wheeled cart at a bus full of fighters, then turned around and used the video footage to hype up an October megafight between McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, a bout that itself ended in a melee.Scrutiny of Hardy’s ascent grew among fans when he was placed on the same card as flyweight Rachael Ostovich, who is fighting Paige VanZant. Honolulu police arrested Ostovich’s husband, Arnold Berdon, who pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and is accused of punching his wife in the head, face and ribs, fracturing her eye socket.White has defended having the two intertwined fighters on the same card and said he had Ostovich’s approval to book Hardy.“From the minute I called her, there was never a situation,” White said. “She didn’t know who Hardy was. She didn’t know anything about it. She said, ‘His situation isn’t my situation. They’re completely different. I don’t even know the guy and I’ll have no problem with any of this.’”Ostovich said in New York that she talked to Hardy this week to “squash whatever might be happening.”“Let’s work together and use this to help other people from both sides,” she said. “It wasn’t bothering me. It was just something that was on my mind and on my heart that I wanted to go in and meet with him.”Hardy appreciated the chat.“She’s a phenomenal person,” he said. “It shows greatness that she went through what she went through and came here to kick butt.”Ostovich was pulled from her fight against VanZant because of the severity of the injuries suffered in her attack, only to insist she could compete as she saw other fighters clamor for the marquee spot.She had earned her spot in Brooklyn and, once medically cleared — she wanted to clear the slate with Hardy. LOOK: Joyce Pring goes public with engagement to Juancho Triviño View comments “If I was pulled from the card because of my situation and being at home just recovering and thinking about it, I would have been at home Saturday night watching my fight and just be so crushed,” she said. “It feels so much better to be here than not.”Hardy feels similarly about a new lease on life as an athlete. He was cheery — downright happy-go-lucky — and did not shy away from answering questions about his past, even as he was light on specifics.And he’s already made a great impression on the new boss.“The guy is gifted. He’s a great athlete. He looks good so far,” White said. “When he hits people, they go down.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next