With all the news of hatred and discrimination clouding our timeline, Mumbai gave us a glimpse of hope. A crowd of LGBT activists and supporters came out on the streets of Mumbai to celebrate the freedom of choice.
Organised by Queer Azaadi Mumbai every year, the Pride Parade is a massive event of love, harmony and of acceptance. It is not just a protest, but a symbol of unity portraying that freedom of choice does not contain just religion, thoughts or ideas, but also sexuality.
Gathering supporters from not just across India, but even other parts of the globe, the march witnessed people from various age groups and organisations. Students stood with placards supporting equality, mothers came out in support of their children and companies supported a diversified work culture.
Radhika Piramal, Managing Director of VIP luggage, spoke about her sexuality at the March. “Find allies in your work place” she said, while talking about the importance of coming out. Piramal came out about her sexuality in 2011 when she married her partner in London. For her, making this public statement meant countering an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that the LGBT community has to go through.
Parmesh Shahani, Head of Godrej @IndiaCultureLab was also present at the parade. “We want more people to come out and we have to come out in our work place,” he said. He also gave his Twitter followers a virtual tour of the march:
A celebratory protest against Section 377 that still haunts our constitution, the Pride Parade was definitely the most fashionable of all protests.
Humsafar Trust, GayBombay, Gaysi, Doctors for Equality and Pink Singers (London’s LGBT choir) and such collectives were also a part of the celebration that stirred emotion and a sense of consensus that we all stand together in this fight against discrimination and prejudice against the LGBT community.
A mom spoke to me about how she has come to terms with her daughter’s sexuality. “I realised it’s not controllable,” she said, adding that she had come to support her daughter at the March.
It was heartening to see that the march reached people across gender, age, profession and sexuality.
Ekta, a student who identifies herself as straight, told SheThePeople.TV that equality is necessary. “I thought why not join in.I hate sexism in general and the LGBTQ suffers the most,” she said.
Even corporates had come to show their support. A representative from consulting giant, Bain and Company, had come to the March and was holding a big banner that said Bain and Company Celebrates Mumbai Pride in 2017.
The March started from August Kranti Maidan which then proceeded to Lamington Road, crossing the Opera House to Kennedy Bridge and back to August Kranti Maidan.
With inputs from Tara Khandelwal