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Queer Aazadi Pride March, Mumbai 2016

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pride march mumbai 2016

Pride march mumbai 2016Vishal Bharadwaj

On Feb 6, 2016, Mumbai witnessed its 8th annual queer aazadi march. The pride march started at 4 pm from August Kranti Maidan passed Opera House and Kennady Bridge before returning back. I being new to the city was a little late to join the pride march. Our taxi driver did not know the route to August Kranti Maidan, also he didn’t know about the pride march. So, I tried explaining him about why the march is being conducted and how important it is to the LGBT community. From his accent, he seemed to be from my native land, Purvanchal. He said that this should not be de-criminalised because he thought sexual relationship is meant for only reproduction.

I also wonder why don’t the lower middle class comes out and support this cause so much. It is said that more then 7000 people participated in this pride march. Most of the people belonged to middle class and upper middle class community. Many people came to show their support to their family and friends who identify to this community. Supreme Court on Dec 11, 2013 overturned a 2009 Delhi High Court judgement decriminalising same-sex intercourse. most of the people were happy because on Feb 2, 2016 during a hearing of petition submitted by Naz Foundation (which provides a variety of services to gays, lesbians, transgender and those impacted by HIV/AIDS) and others against the 2013 verdict, the Apex Court decided to submit the matter to a five judge bench for consideration.

Equal rights activists like Harish Iyer also one of the most vocal opponents of the recriminalisation of homosexuality in India also made speeches during the event. The star cast of film ‘Aligarh’ which is based on the death of a gay professor after being sacked from Aligarh Muslim University were present to show their support to this event. People where dancing and shouting slogans against section 377. The police managed the safety of people very well at the event and everything went smoothly. Some onlookers were cheering for the crowd while a few of them booed them. Many shopkeepers also came out of their shops to see the pride march. Around 5.30 pm the march ended by balloons being released into the sky.

(Vishal is a student of film-making and is currently interning with The Sabha)
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