BENGALURU: It has been more than a decade since we started Namma Pride, and it’s time to look back at our journey so far,” says Ayaan Syed, a member of Coalition for Sex workers, Sexual & Sexuality Minorities’ Rights (CSMR), which comprises many LGBTQ and allied groups and individuals in the city. This year, the Namma Pride and Karnataka Queer Habba, scheduled to take place at various venues until November 24, will focus on paying tribute to the pioneers of the movement.
“We want to remember the activists who have contributed to achieve the rights that we have today. We are reaching out to them and involving them in each session of the festival, in a bid to help the new generation learn from the experienced people,” he adds, pointing out that though Article 377 has been decriminalised, the community is still struggling to get civil rights, which would allow them to marry, buy property and avail insurance benefits.
“Many people are travelling to other countries to get married. The society has to be made more aware of the violations of our civil rights. Keeping that in mind, at every programme, let it be walks or talks, our volunteers will distributing pamphlets conveying the details of the purpose of each event. So it’s a platform to create awareness among the public as well raise our voice,” says Syed.
The festival will include sports events like badminton and cricket tournaments, queer performances, parents’ meet, pride parade, diversity fair and talks on topics such as drug use, mental health, etc. Says Syed, “We want the community to know that this is also a celebration, besides a protest. We are also holding sessions on mental health and drugs, for which we have invited specialists from NIMHANS and other organisations.”