For a significant section of our country, the fight for independence is still going strong. Laws may have changed, outlooks may have improved, but daily life is still a struggle for the LGBT communities.
In a continued effort to bring to light the struggles of the sexuality minorities, the Campaign for Sexworkers and Sexual Minorities Rights (CSMR) is organising it’s sixth consecutive Karnataka Queer Habba and Bangalore Pride. The nineteen-day festival which kicked off on November 6 with a press conference and a play, aims at promoting ‘intersectionality’ - a theme that will bring to light and represent the other related and parallel movements.
“Before the LGBT movement even came into existence in Bangalore, we’ve had various minority groups like feminists, dalits and sex-workers fighting for their rights. They have supported our cause over the last few years, and it would be unfair on our part to separate our struggle from theirs, because in the end, we’re not that different - we have the same goals, the same cause. Ultimately, we want the government and the society to realise that we’re not really asking for our rights, but demanding them,” says Romal Singh, an activist and RJ with Q Radio, Radiowalla.
There are two main panel discussions that will deal with this theme of ‘intersectionality’. “On November 14, we’re holding a panel called Y(our) Stories or ‘Nimma Namma Kathegalu’, which invites people to tell their stories of collective movements like sexuality right movement, labour, dalit and slum issues and land grabbing. Dalit activist Mavalli Shankar and women’s rights activist Kavya are scheduled to speak on this day. The second panel will take place on November 17 and continue the conversation on how the queer movement has not restricted itself to queer issues and is inclusive of other movements as well,” says Sumathi, activist, CSMR.
The nineteen-day event will include various activities such as, three panel discussions, a music event, a dance event, a diversity mela, an open forum, a marathon and finally as the grand finale, the Bangalore Pride, which will begin at Thulasi Park and conclude at Town Hall on November 24.
Repeal the Karnataka Police Act 36 (A), which violates their fundamental rights and criminalises mangalamukhis, hijras.
Create an atrocities act with stringent punishment for hate crimes against the trans community and other gender and sexuality minorities.
A proper legal response to violence perpetrated by members within a family, the police, the state or anyone else.
A demand for the provision of medical facilities that would enable female-to-male and male-to-female transition for trans people, with safe and free SRS (Sex Reassignment Surgery). Hormone Replacement Treatment with prior and subsequent counselling in government hospitals. Also that all HIV + sexuality minorities and sex workers be provided with free, consensual and confidential testing centres and ART medication.
Access to state services and entitlements are made available without discrimination to all sexuality minorities. These services would include ration cards, voter IDs, driving licences, savings-credit facilities, insurance, housing, public shelters, pension and old-age homes with the self-disclosure and self-determination of gender in all valid ID documents.
Reservation of jobs for the trans community in the educational sectors and public transport.
Separate areas within public bathrooms for the trans community.
A comprehensive anti-discrimination law in the context of educational spaces, workplaces and housing.
Immediate decriminalisation of sex-work and sex workers and encourage the government to grant them their due labour rights,
A discrimination-free experience as a right for all members of gender and sexuality minorities, especially in government- run and private-run health facilities.