Mumbai Pride 2018: Your comprehensive guide to the Queer Azadi Month and Parade
Before the Mumbai Pride March on 3 February 218, here's a look at the month of activities planned by Queer Azadi Mumbai
On 8 August 1942, at the Gowalia Tank — an area close to the present-day Grant Road Station in Mumbai — Mahatma Gandhi issued a call for the Quit India Movement. Seventy-five years later, at the same spot, Indians still await freedom from a draconian Victorian-era law — Section 377.
Section 377 criminalises "sex against the order of nature" (which can be construed as any non-procreationary sex); like homophobia, this law too is a western import.
And as Mumbai heads into Pride month — 30 days of activities planned across the city, in the run-up to the Mumbai Pride Parade on 3 February 2018 — it's fitting indeed that the theme for this edition is #377QuitIndia, as chosen by organisers Queer Azadi Mumbai.
Events like the Pride March/Month help build a feeling of “community” where each one helps lift the other up. This is essential — especially when you belong to a community that is ostracised.
Here are some highlights of the Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride Month and March.
Inclusiveness: Initiated by Namma Pride, Bengaluru, the Mumbai Pride too is now inclusive for those with disabilities. There will be sign language interpreters as well as mobi-cabs that will ferry persons with disabilities to and from the Pride venue.
Stamped: This is the 10th Pride March in Mumbai and the 75th year of the Quit India Movement. Queer Azaadi Mumbai is commemorating these anniversaries with 'stamps' — every event logo has been envisaged as a stamp. Take a look —
LBT women get sporty: Being a woman and queer doubles the prospect of discrimination. Even if platforms such as the Pride are meant to be equal-opportunity, the starting line to reach those opportunities is set way behind for lesbian, bisexual and transgender women. For Pride Month, several of the events have been organised by LBT persons. For instance, on 5 January, there was an event called 'Queer Networking Now' at the Godrej India Culture Lab. On 7 January, LBT women will get together for a cricket match at the Queen Premeier League in Vile Parle. On 21 January, the Gaysi Family hosts “Flick It”, a gender and sexuality-inclusive badminton tournament.
Queer vote: All queer people don't vote alike. Right, left and center — queer people support varied political parties and every year, 'Queer And Political' attempts to gauge the political climate within the LGBTIQ community. This year, the event was held on 6 January at the Humsafar Trust.
Firsts: This year's edition of Pride Month will see a special talk by psychologist and motivational speaker Karanvir Singh. Parched, a new group, debuts with its first Pride event party called Queer and Spice. The Mr Gay World India Finale is a part of the Pride celebrations on 13 January. Queeroes, a celebration of queer heroes in our midst (organised by the queer professionals growth network 6 Degrees), is happening at Todi Mills on 18 January. On 21 January, the gap between the young and old will be bridged through "Chai with Seenagers", the elderly queer persons in the community. On 24 January, there is a special event at the Canadian Consulate where Karim Ladak, an Indian Canadian, shares his journey with different LGBTIQ movements across the world. Karim Ladak is pivotal to the queer history of Mumbai as well — as his house was a safe heaven for gay men then, with many of the “house parties” in the gay world happening at his place.
The 100th run of Ek Madhav Baug: The historic play by Chetan Datar, with Mona Ambegaonkar essaying the central character of a mom who understands her son’s sexuality after his death has a special place in the queer history of this part of the world. There are several people whose coming out process was eased when they took their parents to watch Ek Madhav Baug.
Parties aplenty: Apart from the 13 January Queer and Spice event at the Woodside Inn, there will be repeat stories at Kitty Su, where the Mr Gay World India event is being held. It is again pub night on 18 January at the Queeros event at Todi Mills Social. Then at the end of our festivities before the big Pride day, we have a Pre-Pride Night at Monkey Bar, Bandra, by Parched. Though there could be many unofficial parties on Pride day, it is only Gaysi family that is hosting the official Post-Pride Party on the calendar.
Here’s the calendar. Join us for the Pride. #HappyPride!