Nagpur’s LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community came out on streets of Nagpur when they participated in the 2nd Orange City Pride March which started from Samvidhan Square, Civil lines, Nagpur. The pride march organised by the Orange City Pride March Committee with assistance from Nagpur NGO Sarathi Trust was organised with an intention to spread awareness about the LGBT community and to give a message that the LGBT community exists like other citizens do in the society. While India’s openly gay prince – Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil – was the chief guest, Nagpur MLA Dr Milind Mane was the guest of honour and he flagged off the march.
In this march which consisted of around 300 people, apart from people of Nagpur, people from the other metro cities were also present. People who participated in the march were dressed in fancy and rainbow coloured attires. A few members held a big rainbow flag in their hands during the entire march. Before the march started, many people from the LGBT community took to the stage and expressed their feelings. Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil also gave a speech wherein he spoke about the section 377. He also unveiled a calendar by AIDS Healthcare Association (AHF) – a global organisation of which he is the brand ambassador.
As the march started and headed towards Lokmat Square, people participating in the march danced happily to the tunes of dhols throughout. Many of them held placards which carried messages like, ‘Illegally and happy ever after,’ ‘Your opinion and judgment can’t change our love; love has no gender,’ and ‘I’m a transgender. Will you hug me?’ They also raised slogans against section 377. Some of the slogans which were raised were ‘I’m Gay, that’s okay,’ ‘Sabse ganda konsa niyam, teen sau satattar, teen sau satattar,’ among many others.
When Nation Next interacted with a few members of the LGBT community participating in the march, they expressed their feelings with no holds barred.
Ram Rao, a bigender gay, who was dressed in a red saree, said, “As per me, every human is born with both masculine and feminine characteristics. I have donned this attire just to reflect that. To an extent, the society has started accepting a woman displaying masculine characteristics, but it’s not really the same with a man. He’s not allowed to display his feminine characteristics. Today, with my attire, I want to give a message that people should also embrace the feminine characteristics in a man. Being a man, today, I want to embrace the woman in me.”
Sumit Pawar, a homosexual, who specially came from Mumbai for this pride march while expressing his feelings said, “We have a team in Mumbai and we keep travelling to different cities to talk about our sexuality and on the LGBT issue. People in India think that homosexuality is not the culture of India and that it’s an import from the west. So, we want to prove that people like us exist among Hindus, Catholics, Muslims, and among other religions. It’s just that our society has never accepted this truth. The placard in my hand today says, ‘Spread love, not discrimination’ because according to me love is without definition and conditions; it’s blind and unconditional. I don’t think that people should discriminate because of orientation.”
It was interesting to know that many people on the roads who were witness to this pride march supported the LGBT community on the issue. Trudy D’Souza, a young student, in support of the LGBT community said, “I think its high time laws in India relating to the LGBT community should be amended. It’s ridiculous that people still have to fight for their rights in 2017!” Another youngster, Rahul Pande, said, “Every citizen of India has a right to sexual orientation of their choice. It hurts me to realise that because of flawed laws in our country sometimes the rapists and corrupt politicians walk scot-free and because of those flawed laws the LGBT community which wants to live peacefully has to flight for its existence! I salute the people who have conducted this pride march.”
Here’s a glimpse of the Orange City LGBT Pride March held in Nagpur.
Pictures by: Kartik Thakur