BENGALURU: The city’s ninth Pride March was held on Sunday.
At 2.00 pm the walk began from Tulasi park and ended at the Townhall. Throughout the walk, people danced to drum beats and held up banners for freedom to love.
Ishitha, a bisexual corporate lawyer from Delhi, says the Pride is a brilliant idea since it creates more awareness about alternate sexuality among people and helps with the campaign against section 377. “Personally, it helps people come out of the closet,” she said. “I am still surrounded by people who are prejudiced and ignorant of different sexualities.” She said that understanding from the older people is still a long way off. “They even think it is an influence from the western countries but the truth is it is not,” she said. “To change this, children should be taught from even while at school by showing movies and explaining things to them.”
Priyanka, a transgender RJ in Radio Active (community radio), hoped that the Pride could convince the government to remove all the restrictions placed on alternate sexualities. “They should revoke Section 377 and Section 36A of the Karnataka Police Act 36A.” There have been false promises, she said, but no implementation. They had gone to ministers and chief ministers, but all they got were unfulfilled promises, she said. “But the Pride can at least shake people out of their prejudices. So far there has been about a 5% change in people’s behaviour and they have begun to accept us and treat us with respect. Some are even supporting our cause,” said.
Priyanka has overcome many challenges and parental censure. She even moved out of her home at the age of 13. “Things changed in time and now I am by my family, since I have done well for myself.” But it is not easy since there are few employment opportunities, she said. They have to earn by begging or through sex work.
Abhiram, who as gay, runs an online catering company called My Tiffin Carrier. This is his 5th pride and views Pride as simply “being yourselves”. He sees such activities as absolutely essential in a society like ours. “There has been gay bashing and even the police act against us. Pride helps the public get acquainted with the LGBTQ community and its concerns,” he said. Luckily he faced little resistance at home. They happily accepted him, though after a heated argument.
Anup (name changed), a gay BPO employee who works in Coorg, is happy to meet his friends. “It is a place that brings all of us together,” he said. “India calls itself a democratic country but is not democratic enough to accept us.” He is annoyed that people around him keep forcing him to marry. “I cannot marry a girl and make her unhappy too. People should understand that,” he said. “I should flee to a country that has legalised gay marriages.”
Vilram from Chennai works in Nirangal an NGO. He is completely against the idea of gender and labelling a person. He dresses as he pleases, and he leans towards the feminine. “Gender is just a role to perform,” he said. “Pride raises visibility of gender, creates solidarity amongst the community people and is also a way to make a public statement, demanding it be more liberal.”
Elsewhere in the city, some young people were totally oblivious to the Pride. Mansa, a student from Jain University, said it is really a good way of letting people know how and what LGBTQ really is.