Lesbians, gays and bi-sexuals were major participants in the fourth Rainbow Pride march conducted at Elliot’s Beach in Besant Nagar. This change in the composition of the crowd mirrors the changing dynamics in the increasingly visible LGBT community.
“The three earlier pride marches were more or less dominated by the transgenders, who were the most visible and vocal of the LBGT community. But this year is path breaking, for the first time gays made up 60 per cent of the crowd, followed by bi-sexuals, lebsians and transgenders. This is a phenomenal change,” said Sunil Menon, activist and founder of Sahodaran.
The newly emerging Chennai-based gay networks like Chennai Dost, 4-G Cluster and Chemistry Club, and gay networks from Bangalore, Mangalore and Madurai accounted for a surge in the gay crowd.
Bhaskar and Arjun from 4-G Cluster said, “We are based in Chennai, we started our network after last year’s pride, and we are growing. It is great to be a part of the march.” Prof Vasudevan and Janaki Vasudevan, parents of Aniruddhan Vasudevan, who proudly asserts his gay identity and also is the co-founder of Shakti Resource Centre, participated in the march, colourfully dressed and chanting slogans. The parents said, “We accept our son completely for who he is. We love him and we are proud of him.” They had a message for parents who have children who belong to the LGBT community, “Accept your child for their honesty. They are not terrorist; they are normal like any one else.”
Unlike the earlier prides marches on the Marina, here at the Besant Nagar, the movement of the parade was restricted. However, the colours and the assertion of the crowd’s heart-felt sentiments, reflected in the placards and slogans, remained loud and clear.