Welcome to BenGAYLuru – The Bangalore Pride Parade

In one of the threads on bangalore  couchsurfing group, Vidya mentioned about some Bengaluru Pride parade that was held last year and will be organized this year as well. People started talking about it. I was absolutely clueless as to what they were writing about, thought it to be a parade to make the Bangloreans feel proud of their city. A day later I received a mail from Maraa about the details of the event. Finally, I understood it was a parade to support the LGBT communities of the society.

There were a lot of pre-parade events organized by Maraa which unfortunately I couldn’t attend. Discussions started on BangCS about the Parade and Vidya wrote about her experience of attending one of the pre-parade events. Everyone started talking about what they should wear to support the cause. People came out with all kind of  ideas.

Finally the day arrived and I called up Viddy to find out the plan and reached Cubbon Park to find CouchSurfers (CSers) all busy making posters and the rainbow flags. Viddy in blue and pink, Leena in pink and khaki, Googie in orange, me in black & pink…..we were all dressed for the cause…. Ashish got the back of his head painted with the flag and “Here 2 Support” on his forehead. Ashok landed from Chennai just to support the cause.

We went to the venue – National College ground in Basavanagudi. The parade was to start from there and end at town hall, covering a stretch of almost 3½ KMs.

There, we put on a few more props. Some of the the members wore multi-coloured necklaces and  wrapped a feather boa around their necks. Ashish had a red coloured feather boa around his neck, I got a false flower garland and a rainbow coloured feather boa. Some wore tierras on their heads, while some of us wore pink and blue coloured shiny caps, and some had masks. Lastly it was time for the rainbow flags on our hands, necks, and wherever possible.

We were then ready for the Parade and support those who have the same right in this society as everyone else. we walked towards the place where the crowd had gathered, and found 2 more friends waiting for us – Darshan in Red and Tanya in a brown jacket. Darshan put on a tierra, a feather boa and the flag. Tanya too had the flag stuck onto her neck.

Welcome to BenGAYLuru - The Bangalore Pride Parade

In the activity we made so much noise that we almost attracted most of the media’s attention.

At around 3pm the parade started and we held our posters high up with the slogans –  “No Fear 4 Queer”, “Hindu Muslim Sikh Isai, Hetero Homo Bhai Bhai”  and ” Welcome to BenGAYluru” with a peace sign.

Slogans were shouted by different groups, including us! We met a lot of the trans who were totally enthusiastic about the whole parade.

It came as a surprise, not havng interacted with trans earlier except on the streets when they beg for their living was a pleasure to find that many were well spoken unlike what we get to see on the roads, begging for money. Few of them were fluent in English as well.

It felt nice to be a part of the parade that supports a just cause like this! These people are as much human beings as we are, with a little difference.

A difference that the Indian society is not ready to accept. But just because we are not accustomed to their way of life, does that give us the right to stop them from leading a life they have full right on?

The parade was peaceful, with the people dancing at the tune of the drum beats. We reached the destination – Town Hall. All of the people gathered here and started dancing, shouting slogans and showing their posters with pride.

The gathering had people from all walks of life, all ages, activist, eunuchs, gays, and even us, who believed in their rights.

It does show that though the change is slow, it is taking place. After a little talk by various activists we headed towards nearby foodstands. On the way some of us started getting calls from friends, exclaiming that they saw us on national channels like NDTV, MTV, Times Now, and others. We were no doubt very excited. The CS gang made a change!

Next morning, I was getting ready for office, when Darshan called up informing me about us being covered in TOI and DNA. DNA screwed a little by portraying me and a friend as lesbians, though we are not, but that’s fine, as long as the cause gets its attention. 🙂

I read somewhere (I can’t recall the source), about an Indian family accepting the fact that their son is a Gay and getting him married to his partner. This occurred quite a long time back! However that’s just one of the family whereas the majority of the Indians are not ready to accept the change. The religious preachers are against it on various grounds.

I called up my mom to tell her that I am on paper…..initially, she didn’t realize what it was about. Later she went through the Kolkata edition of TOI and after understanding that it was a Gay Parade, called me up.

She asked me what I was doing in that Parade…in a very confused and concerned tone. She felt relieved that I wasn’t like them…..THEM? What if I was? She didn’t had an answer. She still has a notion that the homosexuals are perverts who could have lead a normal life like us but they wont and they are responsible for spreading STDs.

There was a tone of immense hatred in her voice. Though I tried to make her understand that what she thinks is not right, she is not ready to listen.

I read and heard news about the Govt. rethinking on the Section 377 of penal code. Though if any changes are made to it, it will make a lot of difference to the lives of the homosexuals, but it will take a long time to change the mentality of the current elder generations to which my mom belongs.

Note: all photographs in this blog are taken by one of our friend Ashok except the newspaper cut outs.


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