Acceptance of the LGBT community was the focus of Queer Campus mela

The word of the day was acceptance, as the city celebrated the first Queer Campus mela at Jaaga here on Sunday.

Queer Campus Bangalore (QCB) is a community for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth in the city. The focus of the LGBT movement so far was on the law that criminalised homosexuality, which has now been read down. “So, we organised the event to celebrate [decriminalisation of homosexuality],” said Ananya, an organiser.

She feels that some LGBT youth face harassment in colleges, especially with parents and friends. “They ask ‘How can you do these things?’ They think it’s weird. As an organisation, we have felt quite accepted and we have not had any problems. Personally, I want people to come up and interact with me more. We just want people to accept us for who we are,” she said.

Priyank, co-founder of QCB, said the organisation was set up so that people could meet “similar people with a similar mindset”. The organisation has about 50 regular members. “Bangalore has finally accepted us. Their opinions about us have changed,” he said.

Concerns remain

However, some issues persist.

“We get some cases of people getting kicked out of their houses or disowned by their families. There’s also some harassment in colleges and schools,” said LGBT activist Arvind Narrain. “Many from the LGBT community are school or college dropouts. They don’t feel accepted, and the sense of being told in school that you’re supposed to be very masculine can affect that,” he said.

“A lot of bands and performers didn’t come to our event because they didn’t want to be associated with the LGBT community,” said Mr. Priyank.

“I can totally understand that,” said Suhas Vasudev of Ink Me Silly, who had a stall at the event. “It’s not yet a totally open situation. I was apprehensive at first as well, but then, the LGBT cause is something I want to be more involved with.”

Mr. Priyank remains positive about the future. “As it’s the present generation that’s really going to lead the nation, we have a better future ahead of us.”

The stalls at the fair included an animal adoption camp, a tattoo parlour and several tuck shops. A masquerade ball, dances and a fashion show were also organised.