Features » Metroplus

Updated: July 5, 2010 20:18 IST

Celebrating freedom

Catherine Rhea Roy
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The two-day Festival of Freedom reinforced the voice of the LGBT community

It has been a year since the love that dared not speak its name was given a voice, and the LGBT community all around the country celebrates this Movement of Love. Namma Bengalooru did some sakkath majja-making in the two-day long Festival of Freedom. The festivities began on July 1 with a concert by classical singers Sumathy and Akkai.

Sumathy who is also a playwright and activist sang Meera bhajans and Akkai who works with Sangama, an organisation that works for the LGBT people performed a song that she composed especially for the occasion. “I am very happy to be here today, to celebrate my freedom, my sexuality, my attraction…” said Akkai before she started her song in which she saluted the nation, Justice Shah and Muralidharan and the Delhi High Court judges.Chitra and Deepu who are a part of the Lesbit Troupe sang Tamil film songs and an added treat was an impromptu jig, courtesy Chitra.

New-York based singer and song-writer Rebecca Miller was the surprise entry of the evening. “Just because of what we are celebrating I thought I'd sing two love songs,” she said. Her performance was followed by the highly-anticipated Fatimah Loren.

A complete entertainer, Fatimah owned the stage and won the audience over with her songs and moves. Special mention must be made of her song “Heaven in the Hood” that added to the already thriving mood. Every song of hers came with a message, and “Heaven in the Hood” spoke about where she grew up and how she wanted to bring heaven there.

The concert was only the beginning of the festival. On July 2, there were speeches by guests that included former MP Prema Cariappa, actress Arundathi Nag, and Kannada writer Prof. Banjagare Jayaprakash, testimonies from people from various backgrounds and who belonged to the LGBT community.

There was also a book release by actress and activist A. Revathy. The book, “The Truth About Me”, is the autobiography of a hijra who fought ridicule, persecution and violence in search of dignity.

In a tribute to Justice Shah and Muralidhar for striking down section 377 a gay man wrote, “As a gay man, I owe you and Justice Muralidhar a lot for striking down Sec. 377. I remember how I felt that night. I was not thinking “sodomy is legal”, I was thinking “I'm legal”! Sec. 377 had criminalised me as a person, my deepest most innocent desires. Your ruling gave me freedom. That is a lot to get from one single court case.”

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