Sunday offered a liberating experience to hundreds of LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities) in the city. For the first time ever, they were allowed to take out a parade and hold cultural events at the Necklace road. And, so happy were they that they cried, whistled and enjoyed every bit of it. “This is the first time a queer pride has been organised in the city after numerous obstacles. The people here are not as conservative as they say, but we want to educate people and be treated as equals,” cried Rohit, a member of the community, in excitement.
Called the Hyderabad Queer Pride 2013, it was an initiative of Suraksha Society, Heroes Project and LGBT support groups in the city. It brought together about 42 organisations working for the rights of LGBTs and a few corporates like Facebook, Google, GE, Accenture etc. Most of the participants were youngsters. Dressed in colourful attires, they walked hand in hand from the PV Narasimha Rao samadhi to the People’s Plaza in the afternoon, in broad daylight, waving flags and raising slogans. There were quite a few foreigners and even old people among them.
A good number of people turned up from other cities too. Bala, representing GayBombay, said, “We are well networked in the country and we want to support one another, create awareness and demolish stereotypes. We are just like anyone else and we demand equal rights.”
Prof Hoshang Merchant, renowned gay poet and who was part of the queer movement in the US, came on a chariot! “I have been waiting for this day for the last 50 years. I feel like a queen on Sunday. I have seen this in the US 45 years ago. There is no comparison and everything changes with time. I am too old, let the young people enjoy,” he said in a jovial mood.
Carrying placards with messages to the straight world, many aired their own personal experiences. Pawan, representing Sathi from Kolkata, held aloft a placard that read, “Lesbians and Gays too make good bosses”. Explaining the same, he said, “Lesbians and gays are not isolated people. They deserve equal rights even at workplace as employers cite various reasons to sack a gay or lesbian.” A Facebook employee, who refused to identify herself, said, “every human being is entitled to do what he thinks is right. The idea is to fight against old school of thinking about sexuality.”
Andy Silveira, a film studies research scholar in the city, who was sacked from his earlier job for being a gay, said, “I am waiting to watch some serious gay movies in Bollywood. So far, what we have seen had queer caricatures, I am not comfortable with. Bollywood has to represent LGBT characters with a lot of depth.” Adding more, he said, “I certainly do not want to go to the US to marry my boyfriend!”
Speaking about alleged “medical malpractice”, Vijay Mogli, an activist, said, “LGBTs are given electric shocks and anti-psychotic drugs. It shatters the person’s mental and physical health and turns him into a cockroach.” Happy with the day, the LGBTs are now planning a queer film festival, art exhibitions etc in the city. After the parade, they organised cultural programmes where singer Anuj Gurwara sang some popular numbers. Did they miss anything? “They could have arranged for some sun screen,” quipped one Suhaas.