Over 10,000 people marched in Mumbai on Saturday evening in solidarity with the cause of LGBT rights, especially in the light of Section 377 of the IPC which criminalises same sex relationships. The event began with speeches outside August Kranti Maidan and a pride parade followed, with song, dance and slogans, watched by common Mumbaikars on streets, in homes and on terraces.
This year, pride is not just about celebration, but also protest. It is heartening to see so many straight people here to support us as well as many community members showing their faces with pride.
As the crowd began to fill up outside the August Kranti Maidan at Grant Road, some community members and supporters chose to paint their faces and bodies. Gayatree Joshi, the artist, said, “Rainbow dream catchers, flags in multi-coloured hues and Section 377 were some of the common things people opted to paint.”
Sr Lillyann Joseph, a Catholic nun, who is part of AHF (Aids Healthcare Foundation) India, a Navi Mumbai-based NGO that provides free HIV treatment, was there to support the LGBT community. She said, “I work with many people present here. So, I am here to support them.” The NGO was distributing condoms to all those gathered. Bismay Raulo from Delhi, who was part of Impulse India, a sister NGO of AHF India, said, “This idea was a success at the Delhi Pride. So, we decided to replicate the idea in Mumbai. We have given out more than 7,000 condoms.”
Mr Gay World India, Anwesh Sahoo, also opted for an Indian look with a Rajasthan-inspired mirror-work outfit. He said, “I wanted to run wild with colours, and also be authentically Indian. Seeing so many others in Indian wear makes me feel proud of my choice.” Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, India’s first openly gay royal prince and the team of movie ‘Aligarh’ also attended Pride Parade.
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