Flash Mobs: Progressive and powerful way to spread awareness

Every year, LGBT youth organisations Yaariyan and Harmless Hugs lead a team of 35 to 50 dancers in a flash mob. The event, recently organized in Thane, Mumbai is held every year at various public places in Delhi and Mumbai.

Mumbai’s flash mobs have been organized by Yaariyan since 2014 at Marine Drive, Dadar, Bandra Vashi and this year in Thane. The men and women dance to Hindi songs and aim to spread awareness about homosexuality and LGBT rights.

A mob is a progressive way to end ignorance in the society. It takes place at random popular public places, allowing it to engage people of all types, of different ages. The group dances to a number of Bollywood songs and ends the performance by shouting slogans in support of LGBT rights.

It’s amazing to see public watching this event. Someone is shocked, sweating and some are smiling. But it’s unlikely that any homophobic person hates this because these mobs are so beautiful and powerful, they push people to embrace homosexuality.

Kudos to Yaariyan and Harmless Hugs and those awesome participants.

Watch more videos on youtube searching keywords delhi/mumbai lgbt flash mob. Like and share widely.

Delhi based Harmless Hugs is an expansive space that empowers members of the LGBT community and its allies.
https://facebook.com/harmlesshugs

Mumbai based Yaariyan is a Humsafar Trust Youth Initiative that was initiated to understand current trends and behavior of LGBT youth. The Yaariyan Core Team currently comprises a group of ten LGB-identified youth between the ages of 18 and 28 years. 

http://humsafar.org/yaariyan/
facebook.com/yaariyanmumbai
https://www.instagram.com/yaariyan_lgbtq/

International Commission of Jurists asks Govt to repeal Section 377.

International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), an international human rights NGO of lawyers and judges, has urged the Indian government to abolish Section 377 that criminalises homosexuality with a  provision of lifetime imprisonment.

The Telegraph reports the ICJ recommended that Indian authorities end discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity in the formal justice system.

The report said, “Repeal Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and vaguely worded criminal laws that invite discriminatory application, or substantially revise them to ensure there is no scope for abuse in their enforcement,”

The 60-page report – Unnatural Offences: Obstacles to Justice in India Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity – documents the challenges “queer persons” in the country often face.

The ICJ said its study was based on 150 interviews across nine cities, including with people identified as LGBT and those who may not fit any of these categories. It said most such people face problems while trying to access justice, starting from the impact of laws to police harassment and discrimination.

Sam Zarifi, the ICJ’s Asia director, said, “Criminalisation, police violence, and the prejudiced attitudes of officials… have a profoundly detrimental impact on the ability and willingness of queer persons to resort to legal avenues to obtain justice. The systemic discrimination and violence faced by queer persons in India, and the challenges they face accessing justice, are clearly contrary to India’s international human rights law obligations and the Indian Constitution.”

The report has made several recommendations to Indian govt including:

  • Ensure police officers promptly register and investigate any complaint regarding violence on queer people.

  • Provide legal and sensitisation training relating to sexual orientation and gender identity to lawyers and judges

  • Make outreach programmes to facilitate queer individuals’ access to the justice system.
  • Repeal section 377

The ICJ said Indian authorities had an “obligation” to “respect, protect and fulfil” the rights to equality before the law and freedom from discrimination; including the right to life, freedom from torture and “other ill-treatment” of “queer persons”.

Source: The Telegraph

​Health Ministry Resource Material tells same-sex attraction and relationship is normal and alright.

The Centre has launched a nationwide programme to end the misconceptions and ignorance among youth. About 1.6 lakh young boys and girls will work as peer educators to adolescents and respond to their queries on key health issues including sexual, physical and mental changes, nutrition and addiction.

The resource material prepared for these educators that was unveiled by Health Secretary C K Mishra treats the issue of homosexuality in the righteous way.

The kit explains the adolescents can feel attraction for same or opposite sex and it’s normal. Crucial in relationships is love, mutual consent, trust and respect.

The resource kit says, “Yes, adolescents frequently fall in love. They can feel attraction for a friend or any individual of the same or opposite sex. It is normal to have special feelings for someone. It is important for adolescents to understand that such relationships are based on mutual consent, trust, transparency and respect. It is alright to talk about such feelings to the person for whom you have them but always in a respectful manner.”

The resource material also opposes gender stereotypes.

“A boy can cry to give vent to his feelings. He can also be soft-spoken or shy. Being rude and insensitive is not a sign of masculinity. It is alright for boys to like things like cooking and designing that are normally associated with girls; adopting the role of the other gender does not mean that he is not male. The same applies for girls who talk too much or like to dress like boys or play games like boys. It is wrong to label such people as ‘sissy’ or ‘tomboy’.

The resource material in Hindi is going to be circulated to states as part of the adolescent peer-education plan.This group of 1.65 lakh educators from young generation itself are called “Saathiya”

The peer educators who will be trained by the health department with the help of the resource material given out by the Centre will do voluntary work. They are being trained under the Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram (RKSK).

The resource kit comprises an activity book, Bhranti-Kranti game, question-answer book and Peer Educator Diary.While short films will be played by the peer educators at their group meetings, the activity book and games will bring about discussion and resolve adolescent queries.

The adolescents who are unable to interact with the peer educators can access the information through the free mobile app as well as a toll-free helpline. The mobile app is ‘Saathiya Salah’.

“Despite the expansion of media, there are many unanswered questions in the minds of young people in villages. Saathiya will address these questions. We are also talking about behavioural change and a change in thinking,” Secretary Mishra said.

The section also deals with awareness about HIV and STDs, use of pills and condoms,  listing masturbation as one of the topmost options for practising “safe sex”. It also talks about addiction, smoking and alcohol laying down their harmful effects.

While section 377 still criminalizes homosexuality as ‘unnatural’, this small but progressive step forward by centre is applaudable.

Download the Saathiya app here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.unfpa.saathiya


This Cute Comic Book based on Two-Dads Family educates children about homosexuality

“Daddy’s Roommate”- a comic book which explains how a family with homosexual parents is a normal and happy family, addresses a young boy whose divorced father now lives with his boyfriend. This book breaks several myths and stereotypes about homosexuality.

The best thing about this book is it’s a children’s comic book. Educating children about homosexuality is very crucial to end ignorance and prejudice; to build a hate-free inclusive and educated society.

Daddy’s Roommate was one of the first children’s books in America to portray homosexuality in a positive light; the two men in the book do the same things heterosexual couples do, taking care of the house and the children.

The child says in this book, “Homosexuality is just another type of love. My dad and his friend are happy together. And i am happy with them.”

An imgur user ‘usernumberseven’ shared the German Version of this book with English Translations. Here is a glimpse: 

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In the year 1991, American author Michael Willhoite published this book. This book came out at a time, when America  had a homophobic and ignorant society. And so it was the one of the most challenging books of 90s America. It also became a point of discussion in the 2008 US Presidential Elections. The book played a great role to end ignorance and homophobia in American society.

Six years after writing and illustrating Daddy’s Roommate, Michael Willhoite wrote a sequel to the book called ‘Daddy’s Wedding.’

Buy these books here:

http://www.amazon.in/Daddys-Roommate-Michael-Willhoite/dp/1555831788

http://www.amazon.in/Daddys-Wedding-Michael-Willhoite/dp/1555833500

Nagpur City’s Second LGBT Pride March 

Hundreds of people marched in Nagpur’s second LGBT pride parade to give the message of equality and acceptance. India’s first gay royal to come out of the closet – Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil — flagged off the march. 

A Youngster Venkatesh Kodukula tells,  “This is my first visit to Nagpur and I am amazed to see the enthusiasm of the community here. It’s good to see so many youngsters coming out in the open and acknowledging their sexual orientation.”
Prince Manvendra shares a message through this pride, which is concerned with the problems within the community, “If LGBTQ people want to be accepted by others, they need to come out from the psychological ghetto and educate themselves to break the shackles of fear and ostracism.”

Straight people also participated in the pride march to show their support for the community. A student of NKP Salve Institute, Surabhi Mitra, said, “I have been a supporter of LGBTQ rights ever since one of my close friends came out to me. My friends and I are here today to celebrate them and to show the community that they are not alone in this fight for equality.”





No Entry: Homophobic Cafes And Their Hilarious Excuses

Discriminatory and regressive attitude among staff of some bars and cafes is really pathetic. There are so many restaurants which claim to be very modern and inclusive but in real, they are very hollow and intolerant.

“Stags are not allowed because women are vulnerable and might feel unsafe”, “Straight men might pretend to be a gay couple to get entry.” These are some awkward excuses which hyopcritic bar owners make for discriminating against homosexual men or couples.

Many bars and cafes use ‘no stags’ policies, which is unfair for all men. The policy means single, duo or group of men are not allowed to enter, to maintain the ‘boy-girl ratio’ and to ensure safety of women. 

Such a discrimination is immoral and unconstitutional. If this is right thing to do, lets ban stags from Cinema halls, shopping malls, offices and even roads too, so that women would feel safe!  

“We ban stags from bars or cafes because men can get aggressive after they drink.” Nonsense! A bar is not a place to judge a man’s character. If a man respects women, he would do that even if he is drunk. And if someone is characterless, he would misbehave everywhere, not just in bars. And drunk girls also get unruly and might create nuisances.

A cafe or bar’s motive is to eat-drink, dance, have some fun and return home. Keeping someone out on basis of advanced possibilities is ridiculous.

If some men misbehave or something disturbing happens, it’s the duty of staff to tackle that, which should be well trained. They need to form some mechanisms to ensure safety of women rather than balantly refusing men to enter. Its immoral as well as unconstitutional.

Article 15(2) states that [No citizen shall, on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, place of birth be subject to any disability, liability, restriction or condition with regard to  – (a) access to shops, public restaurants, hotels and places of public entertainment]

On Valentines Day, two gay men were denied entry to a bar in Delhi when they said they were a couple. They were mocked by the staff and were told, “only couples are allowed”, by which they meant, only a man and a woman.

The bar owner explains, we denied entry to them because only we ‘thought‘ they were pretending to be gay as its a ‘convenient‘ way to get entered. 

Oh Really? This is not US or UK, where men pretend to be gay to get benefits. This is India, being gay or even pretending this is stigmatized and full of complications. Straight men would better choose any female friend or cousin with them to get entry before thinking about pretending gay. 

And how do you ensure someone is faking to be gay. On what grounds you claim they are pretending to be a couple? Do you have any test for this? Why dont you get such doubts about straight couples, who are more likely to fake to enter as a couple. It is also possible that gay men pretend to be straight, entering with their any girl- friend. But straight men pretending to be gay, it’s unlikely. Banning gay couples, airily considering them straight is unacceptable.

If you still don’t get it, discover a test to determine someone’s sexuality or ask your guests to bring a ‘sexuality’ Card with them for proof!

Dear Bar Owners, don’t try to justify yourself awkwardly to hide your bigoted mindset.

Copyright (c) 2017 GayRightsIndia. Don’t Copy or Reproduce.

Myntra Features Real Life Gay Couple in its Valentine Special Ad

Fashion Brand Myntra shares a powerful social message of acceptance, inclusivity and equality; featuring an adorable gay couple in its latest commercial.

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Sukanth&Vaibhav

The Valentine special ad features four different real life couples.

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One of them were Sukanth and Vaibhav, who were previously seen in UrbanClap’s photoshoot.

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Kudos to Sukanth and Vaibhav, for their remarkable courage to come out publicly, expressing their love for each other and fighting for equality and human rights, being an inspiration for homosexuals and an eye-opener for ignorant homophobes.

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In 2015, Myntra also featured a lesbian couple in a commercial under its campaign ‘BoldAndBeautiful’. Top brands like eBay, Uber, Jabong have been raising awareness about homosexuality through social platforms. This should be followed by other social brands too because what they represent exerts a powerful influence on people. Having a wide social reach, they have the best opportunity to contribute to this noble cause.

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Sukanth and Vaibhav have been dating for five years and their journey has been wonderful, full of experiences and discoveries.

In the commercial, they are asked to make each other’s fashion wishlist to test how well they understand there partner’s fashion choices. Vaibhav shares, “Everything i buy, i first show it to him, even when i am out of the country or travelling. I never take those decisions on my own.”

When asked about who is more romantic, Sukanth says ‘it’s me’ and Vaibhav agrees with him.

Watch this heartening TVC here:

Love is love. It doesn’t go by age, caste or gender. It is a sacred flame that burns eternally and none can destroy or diminish its glow.

​Darshan Mandhana wins Mr. Gay World India 2017 Title.

Dashing and dynamic Mumbaikar Darshan Mandhana has been crowned as Mr. Gay India 2017. 

Rohan Pujari, who was the most anticipated winner, attributed to his huge fan-following, has grabbed the position of first runner-up. Saiganesh Krishnamoorthy is the second runner-up.

Darshan, Rohan and Saiganesh (MGWI 2017)

Darshan Mandhana is a 31 year old Human Resources professional from Mumbai. He was also the first runner-up of this competition last year (MGWI 2016). 

He has carved his way through all the adversities to become an open gay person to his friends, colleagues and his conservative family. This journey has enabled him to understand the pain of being an open gay man in India and has strengthened him to stand up for who he is and what he believes in. Although He has come a long way, his roots are from Jaysingpur, a small town in South Maharashtra and that keeps him grounded.

Darshan Mandhana’s story is nothing short of a Bollywood flick. From being homeless in Mumbai to going to doctors who misled his parents implying that he could be cured, he has seen it all. “Going to hundreds of psychologists and endocrinologists just makes your life hell. Through the competition, I want to tell the youth who are struggling to come out, that it will be fine. It gets better,” says the 31-year-old who works at a retail firm.

Mandhana’s coming out confession came as a shock to his parents. “I don’t blame them at all. It was a natural reaction, but now they have slowly started accepting me, and my partner as well,” he says. After a few months, however, Mandhana came to Mumbai.
For this Worli resident, however, things completely changed when he met his partner. “We have been in love since the past four years, and had it not been for him, I wouldn’t have got the courage to participate in the pageant. For us, it’s less about the competition and more about making India a safer place for the community,” he said.

Passionate about Painting, Dancing & Swimming, He believes strongly in faith and change. His belief is that when each of us shed the hurtful labels that have kept us in the closet and start accepting and respecting ourselves, the world will do the same.

Congratulations Darshan, u were truly deserving!

Darshan Mandhana wins MGWI 2017

Guwahati’s Pride March : A great example for small cities to follow

Guwahati is a city in the small state of Assam in north east but the hearts of its people are big full of love and acceptance. Pride March of Guwahati is something that other small cities should also follow. 

The fourth edition of Queer Pride Guwahati took place on Sunday near Dighalipukhuri in the city. The event was organized by Assam’s LGBT rights NGO XUKIA. Freedom was the theme of the day. The parade was supported by students of Guwahati University, National Law University, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, media persons and locals.

The march made its way through the historic Cotton College and High Court. More than 300 participants took part in the parade, demanding equal rights and abolition of section 377. 

A straight ally said,” The way they expressed themselves, danced and interacted made me believe that that we should open our minds to those with sexual identities other than our own.” 

Kudos to Guwahati police for their contribition to this peaceful and joyful pride.

All You Need To Know About the Finalists of Mr. Gay India 2017

Darshan Mandhana, Rahul Pujari and Saiganesh Krishnamoorthy are the Top 3 contestants of MGWI 2017.

Here is an account of how these men came so far, their struggles, coming out, their careers, lifestyle, passions and their activism. Their motive is common; which is not just to win the competition, but to create awareness in the country.

1. DARSHAN MANDHANA

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Darshan Mandhana: MGWI 2017 Finalist

Darshan Mandhana is a 31 year old Human Resources professional from Mumbai.

He has carved his way through all the adversities to become an open gay person to his friends, colleagues and his conservative family. This journey has enabled him to understand the pain of being an open gay man in India and has strengthened him to stand up for who he is and what he believes in. Although He has come a long way, his roots are from Jaysingpur, a small town in South Maharashtra and that keeps him grounded.

Darshan Mandhana’s story is nothing short of a Bollywood flick. From being homeless in Mumbai to going to doctors who misled his parents implying that he could be cured, he has seen it all. “Going to hundreds of psychologists and endocrinologists just makes your life hell. Through the competition, I want to tell the youth who are struggling to come out, that it will be fine. It gets better,” says the 31-year-old who works at a retail firm.

Mandhana’s coming out confession came as a shock to his parents. “I don’t blame them at all. It was a natural reaction, but now they have slowly started accepting me, and my partner as well,” he says. After a few months, however, Mandhana came to Mumbai.

For this Worli resident, however, things completely changed when he met his partner. “We have been in love since the past four years, and had it not been for him, I wouldn’t have got the courage to participate in the pageant. For us, it’s less about the competition and more about making India a safer place for the community,” he said.

Passionate about Painting, Dancing & Swimming, He believes strongly in faith and change. His belief is that when each of us shed the hurtful labels that have kept us in the closet and start accepting and respecting ourselves, the world will do the same.

2. ROHAN PUJARI

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Rohan Pujari: MGWI 2017 finalist

Rohan Pujari is 30 years old from the coast of Arnala beach, Virar, Mumbai.  Rohan works with The Humsafar Trust (HST) which is India’s first registered LGBTQ organization. The B.Com graduate, who came out of the closet seven years ago, has been a part of the Humsafar Trust for five years and works in advocacy and  online outreach programmes for the Trust.

He has spread awareness based on safer sex practices and promoted HIV testing among LGBTQ community . He currently works as a Media Officer. and goes through media articles related to the LGBTQ community and sensitized media  (print and electronic) persons for positive coverage.

His favorite past times include swimming, listening to music, traveling and making new friends, he loves working out in the gym , is a dog lover and he also loves to dedicate his free time towards LGBT equality and empowerment  by participating in community events.

Rohan Pujari has admits being bullied and threatened during his growing up years. Hailing from an orthodox south Indian family, and being the only son, coming out wasn’t easy for Pujari. “My parents didn’t speak to me for days. My mom would said, ‘Forget all this and get over it.’ She was in denial for a long time, but I knew at the end of the day, what I was,” says Pujari.

In the Virar-Vasai belt, everyone thinks that gay means transgender men. People would come and say absurd things. Nobody would want to be my friend , but the same people came and apologised later,” said Pujari.

3. SAIGANESH KRISHNAMOORTHY

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Saiganesh Krishnamoorthy: MGWI 2017 finalist

Saiganesh Krishnamoorthy just completed his Master’s in Quantitative Finance from VU University (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and shall begin work as a consultant for the cyber advisory division of a Big 4 firm from March. He also holds an engineering degree in computer science and worked in India prior to this.

His interest in championing the cause of LGBT rights began somewhere in 2015 when he witnessed the freedom that some of the western countries enjoy. He wants to create a more inclusive society where the LGBT can be themselves without getting judged/isolated, initiating a path of acceptance rather than tolerance.

He hopes to one day wake up to a world that’s free from judgement and bias – the world where we need no coming-out days, and where diversity is seen as a positive trait and not as an anomaly.

He speaks Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, English and Dutch. He likes to cook, write, bike, travel and dance ballet or Bharatnatyam when he is not watching sci-fi shows. He loves to talk about the unspoken and the unknown and make the world a more interesting place.

The Judge panel of MGWI 2017 for the finale at Feb 10th.

1. Deepak Kashyap ( Psychologist, certified life-skills trainer and writer)

2. Urvashi Dholakiya (Actress)

3. Christina Bharwani (The Brand Ambassador & Director of Gourmet Renaissance( F&B partners for prestigious events like IPL Femina Miss India, Miss Diva, Pro-Kabbadi League, ISL)

4. Harish Iyer (Equal Rights Activist)

5. Maya Pereira Sawant( young entrepreneur, Owner of  Lean Kitchen, health bar and gym an organic food company )

6. Suveera (fashion stylist)

The finale of the competition will be held on Feb 10 in Mumbai. The winner will  compete with men from all over the world  in Mr. Gay World 2017, which is to be held in Spain on 5-10 May this year.