Whether they identified themselves as lesbian, gay, hijra, kothi, bisexual or as any other group of gender minorities, they came to the Bangalore Pride and Karnataka Queer Habba 2011 from Chennai, Madurai, Hyderabad, Mumbai and other cities and towns, with friends, families and supporters.
Attired vividly and in full spirit, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community celebrated their lives and alternative sexuality during Pride 2011. Organised in various parts of the city by the Campaign for Sexualities Minorities Rights (CSMR), this festival was spread over eight days.
Starting with a cricket match, ‘Queering the Pitch', the events included a candlelight vigil marking the International Transgender Day of Remembrance, a daylong mela with stalls, music and plays, a dance party named KoothNytz, and a panel discussion on same sex marriage. The fiesta culminated with the Pride March which saw nearly 800 people marching from Tulasi Park (near Kempegowda bus-stand) to Town Hall.
Sunil from LesBiT, a support group for lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders and a part of CSMR, said: “On reaching the Hombegowda ground [where the cricket match was held], we found a shortage of players. But soon, people playing there joined us. They were friendly and respectful.”
Sumathi, also of LesBiT, has been involved in organising Bangalore Pride since it started in 2008. She pointed out that various NGOs, independent forums and others who constitute CSMR have begun holding various Pride events together. “This has integrated our community,” she said.
A highlight of Pride 2011 was that many new people participated, irrespective of their sexual orientation. “The garage sale [a fundraiser] and poster-making sessions brought the participation of several enthusiastic persons, some of them first-timers. And the pride march attracted techies who announced their support to the LGBT community with heart-warming placards. All these are positive signs that the LGBT community is slowly gaining acceptance,” said CSMR volunteer Sowmya Reddy.