Lots of Pride

Loved ones in India give firsthand reports that queer pride marches yesterday in Bangalore were fabulous, in Delhi were mixed or positive, in Kolkata no word.  No word yet from the desi contingents in San Francisco, New York no word or elsewhere.

From past experience in New York, I can tell you that the consumer capitalist festival that is the pride march is usually just an add-on to a fun weekend, if you even show up.  Last time I was in New York, I partied until 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. or 6 a.m. at Color Me Queer and then watched Rang De Basanti the next day with good friends.  On the other hand, the Queens Pride March, which happens a couple weeks earlier, ends in New York's South Asian mecca, Jackson Heights, which makes for interesting and some surprisingly uplifting conversations.

On the other hand, in the three Indian cities, a total of over 1,000 people probably marched, which I would imagine is a really big deal in terms of visibility and a challenge to social norms. It also is a stronger response in comparison to past years, as far as I know, particularly as AFP says this was Bangalore's first march.

What's also interesting are the two tier-one (i.e. huge) cities where there aren't any marches reported - Bombay and Chennai - unless I'm mistaken. Maybe they're later; maybe they're unreported, maybe they're non-existent. Would be curious which possibility is the right one and why as well as whether anything else is going on in other places. Nepal, for instance, has the Blue Diamond Society and a lot of smaller cities in India have formal organizations, and informal social networking happens all over the place.

A scholar on South Asian sexuality asked me a few years ago why marches and parades should be the measure of attainment of liberation, which is a good question, but I think that's a bit dour on a celebratory occasion and what, in South Asia, constitutes a profound challenge to the way civil society deals with sexuality. But for those not interested in society responses, the Section 377 hearing (to determine whether queer sex will still be treated as a criminal offence on a par with child abuse as per the 19th century British law) is coming up soon....so maybe HIV-education workers and ordinary people won't be (legally) harassed anymore sometime in the near future.

Please send updates for all if you were at one of the marches or a different one or any other relevant news!

Happy Pride, all, and lots of love.

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i'm kicking myself for not

i'm kicking myself for not attending Color Me Queer on Sunday. ; )

"On the other hand, the Queens Pride March, which happens a couple weeks earlier, ends in New York’s South Asian mecca, Jackson Heights, which makes for interesting and some surprisingly uplifting conversations."

I bet. I would be to chicken to do that march. I would be too scared of running into people I know :P

Even more fun: here's a

Even more fun: here's a video.

Good point, Manvantra ... but I definitely don't have access to any archived Chennai eveningers. Send me the article if you come upon it.

I bet. I would be to chicken

I bet. I would be to chicken to do that march. I would be too scared of running into people I know :P

It's fun! And even if you don't do the march (I don't think I've ever actually marched in Queens so maybe I'm chicken too :), you can just go to the festival or the SALGA brunch afterwards or whatever.

I arrived late for the Delhi

I arrived late for the Delhi pride march, but I heard it was a riot (not in the Stonewall sense)(sorry). There were about 400 marchers (non-organizer numbers) and a great feeling of joy and exuberance that was tangible even when I arrived, and the crowd was dissipating.

Gautam Bhan wrote an editorial letter in the Indian Express the day of the march, which I thought captured the spirit perfectly.

I welcome the event and look

I welcome the event and look forward to a speedy revocation of the unjust laws governing sexuality in India. There is a rich tradition of public expression of LGBT sexuality in India. If anyone has access to the archives of Channai's eveninger Newstoday you could dredge out a report published 3-5 years back about a traditonal utsavam for LGBTs at a kovil in North Madras.

The Bangalore march was well

The Bangalore march was well attended and very vibrant. Surprisingly peaceful as well considering this was the first time the gay community organised something so publicly visible. Lots of straight supporters as well, which was heartening and fun. Lots of people ended up at Koshy's afterwards and made jokes about how that was bound to happen. Some pics on my blog.

From Nigah in Delhi: Support

From Nigah in Delhi:

Support Nigah QueerFest '08

Following the success of the inaugural festival last year, The Nigah QueerFest '08 brings back Delhi's annual ten-day celebration of queerness. Anchored around August 11th, the date of the first queer protest in Delhi sixteen years ago, the festival includes an international film festival, a photography exhibit, interactive workshops and new publications.

The QueerFest remains proud to be entirely funded by individual donations from queer and queer- friendly people from India and abroad in its attempt to continuously expand queer-positive spaces around us. It is critical that we continue this tradition for QueerFest'08 to remind ourselves that it is possible for the community to come together, create and sustain its own festival.

The Support QueerFest Kit is attached to this email and includes details regarding the budget of the festival and the ways in which you can contribute. Cash or cheques can be given to any of us at Nigah. Cheques can also be sent to the following address, and must be made out in favour of "Nigah" :

Sunil Gupta
The Nigah QueerFest 08
N-230, Ground Floor
Greater Kailash - I
New Delhi 110016
Tel: +91 9810327322

Please find the link to the support page on our QueerFest '08 website, from which you can also download the Support QueerFest Kit: http://www.thequeerfest.com/support.html

Come, be a part of your festival!

- All of us at Nigah

The Bangalore Pride was

The Bangalore Pride was excellent! I don't know how I missed Anindita. Here's my blogpost on Bengaluru Pride 2008: http://aniruddhanvasudevan.blogspot.com/2008/07/bengaluru-pride-2008.html

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