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NH7 Weekender takes queer affirmative action

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The 10th edition of the festival in Pune partners with The Humsafar Trust and 6 Degrees to create a safe experience for LGBTQIH+ people

The tenth edition of the NH7 Weekender festival has partnered with The Humsafar Trust, an LGBTQIH+ organisation and 6 Degrees, a Mumbai-based business and networking venture. The collaboration aims to ensure a safe space for women and queer people who attend the three-day festival which begins in Pune on Friday.

In the last year, NH7 Weekender’s parent company, Only Much Louder (OML), has been embroiled in several cases of sexual misconduct. “Since there is an active culture of correcting whatever was not been done earlier for prevention of sexual harassment, it also now reflects in temporary spaces,” says Praful Baweja who has co-founded 6 Degrees along with queer rights activists Harish Iyer and Sushil. “OML wants to make the festival safe for queer people and have implemented it in three ways.” Mr. Baweja’s company has worked with The Humsafar Trust — that promotes and protects queer rights — to execute these safety guidelines.

The entry point of the festival will feature a neutral entry point system, eschewing regular gender binary separation between male and females. “This will help gender-queer, non-binary and even people in drag feel comfortable about their gender identity,” said Mr. Baweja who added that there will be steps to address frisking as well. Some people don’t feel comfortable being checked and NH7 Weekender will offer them a chance to pick who they’d prefer to be patted down by. Lastly, the festival grounds at Mahalaxmi Lawns in Pune will also have a tent with four counsellors. Attendees can get information on what do as a bystander to sexual assault or gender-based violence and harassment or report if something untoward has happened. “There’s alcohol flowing freely and lot of people will be attending the festival, we are making sure people can report, process and take action,” said Mr. Baweja.

The Humsafar Trust and 6 Degrees have involved everyone on the ground, from food vendors to volunteers and employees in sensitisation training to be queer affirmative and aware of women’s safety.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:51:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/music/nh7-weekender-takes-queer-affirmative-action/article30111027.ece

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