Thiruvananthapuram

Finally, they get to be themselves

Members of the LGBT community participating in the Queer Pride March in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday.   | Photo Credit: S. MAHINSHA

The ever-expanding numbers of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community, with more people coming out publicly in recent times due to increased awareness and social support systems, has been a highlight of recent queer festivals.

The case was the same with the ‘Manaveeyam Queer Fest’ held at the Manaveeyam Veethi on Sunday evening, organised by the Oasis Cultural Society and the Manaveeeyam Theruvorakkoottam.

Among those who proclaimed themselves to be proud members of the community was Muhammed Unais, who calls himself a ‘Muslim gay.’

Till two years ago, he says, he used introduced himself as a spectator at such festivals, when others asked him whether he belonged to the LGBT community.

No more need to hide

“Two years ago, I had participated in a pride march and when someone asked me whether am a gay, I said am just a supporter of the cause. Now, am able to stand on the stage and tell the public that I like to get love and care from a man. That’s a huge change brought about by the movement here,” he says.

He says initially he had faced problems with his gay identity being considered a sin in his religion.

“My father was an Imam at a mosque in Kollam. The family took some time to accept this. But, even after that, I had to be careful about the society around us,” he says.

Make-up artiste Renju Renjini said that for many years, members of the community had lived suppressing their identity and desires. All that changed now with the government’s and society’s support.

Earlier, CPI(M) Polit Bureau member M.A. Baby flagged off the queer pride rally from the Asan square. He said the LDF government would take steps to pass a resolution in the Legislative Assembly against the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises homosexuality.

A fashion show for the title of ‘Mx Manaveeyam’ was also organised as part of the festival.

Trans-men

For the first time in LGBT fashion shows in the State, trans-men, those who were born as women and later changed their identity to men, took part.

The Queer fest was organised as a precursor to the Kerala Queer Pride march to be held at Ernakulam on August 12.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 3:29:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/finally-they-get-to-be-themselves/article19440689.ece

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