Thousands join LGBTQ pride march

Mixed in colours: Members of the LGBT community and their supporters at The Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride Parade on Saturday.

Mixed in colours: Members of the LGBT community and their supporters at The Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride Parade on Saturday.

Mumbai: The Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride Parade, which celebrates the LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) persons, took place on Saturday evening amidst much celebration and joy.

The parade began with a gathering of people greeting each other “Happy Pride!” The procession began outside August Kranti Maidan and ended at Kennedy Bridge, halting the city’s traffic as police cordoned off half the roads.

Colourful flags with the LGBTQ rainbow colours and a variety of signboards marked the procession. Musicians played dhol drums and the dancing continued with supporters thronging the streets to celebrate.

An attendee, Aditi Phadnis (23) said, “The atmosphere was colourful, and the parade was very well-organised.” She added, “It is so nice to see so many people in Mumbai and in India who voice LGBTQ support. It is a revelation to see a tangible sign of things changing in India.”

Parents were also seen supporting their children at the parade, like Savita (48), who attended with her daughter Smita. For Ms. Savita, the chance to support her daughter is one she does not want to miss. She said, “It feels nice knowing how many people in the city are open about this cause, and have gathered so happily. It feels really good to be here.”

Ms. Smita, the daughter, works with non-profit efforts to support the LGBTQ persons in the city. She has been attending the Pride Parade in Mumbai for the past four years. “Compared to last year, this year’s parade is a little bit quieter; last year, there was more chanting of slogans and more incessant dhol music. This year, there was no stage outside August Kranti Maidan. But it was still a joyful day, and I’m glad to attend — I look forward to it every year,” she said.

The parade saw similar stories of parents of children who identified themselves as queer.

The attendees were cheerful about the atmosphere of the parade, like Nikita Dudwadkar (19), who said, “I loved that everybody was so happy and smiling, and that strangers were speaking to each other. It felt like a group celebration.”

Pink Singers, an LGBTQ choir from London, participated in the parade, in exchange of an LGBTQ choir, Rainbow Voices Mumbai, which attended and sang at London’s Pride Parade in July last year. Pink Singers were here to lend their support in return. “It’s a wonderful energy here today,” said Annie Ring, a singer with the choir. “The engagement of the city with different sexualities and identities is here in full force to witness.”

People of different nationalities participated in the parade. Janey Lee (23), originally from America, has been working in Mumbai fro the past one year. She attended the parade out of interest and to take part in the energy. she said, “It’s visually such a standout sight, and it is interesting seeing the onlookers from the balconies as we walk past the streets.”

Many organisations were represented at the parade. Among them, Humsafar Trust, its initiative Yaariyan, GayBombay, Bombay Dost, and Umang. Signboards were visible for queer film festival Kashish and Faraz Arif Ansari’s short film on gay romance in Mumbai, Sisak.

At 6 p.m., the police disbanded crowds outside August Kranti Maidan, after which after-parties continued at various locations across the city. Former president of GayBombay, Joel Fernandes, said the parade is important as a show of inclusiveness and support. “We in the queer and LGBT community need to support each other. It is important for Mumbai to show its support in this way.”

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Printable version | Aug 11, 2022 7:15:41 pm |