The underlying sense of taboo and insecurity notwithstanding, the community of sexual minorities in Kerala is aiming to reinforce its identity in society.
Five years after the Delhi High Court’s landmark verdict decriminalising homosexuality, the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) groups in the State are now expanding their activities to different parts of Kerala. As part of it, the queer pride parade – being organised to assert their rights will be held for the first time in Kochi.
“The parade, scheduled to be held here on July 19, will be flagged off at the High Court Junction and conclude at the Gandhi Statue near Rajendra Maidan. This will be followed by a public meeting to deliberate on harassment and persecution of LGBT people by different institutions including educational and law enforcement agencies”, explained Sarath Chelur, programme coordinator of Queer Pride Keralam, an informal group of LGBT community in the State.
According to him, the decision to hold the event in Kochi was taken to articulate their concerns to the city folks.
“Unlike in Thrissur, which hosted all the four previous parades, those prying eyes and shocked stares still continue to haunt us elsewhere. Despite general acceptance, people hardly understand members of the LGBT community and there has to be a lot more campaigning for the community to open up’’, he said.
Aimed at sensitising society, the 300-member group is also planning to hold awareness campaigns in different districts through the screening of films on alternative sexualities. Further, websites and support groups will be made available to people who need support, help or information.