The royal poster boy for gay rights in India – Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil – will be in Nagpur on February 18, 2017 for the second edition of the Orange City LGBT Pride March wherein he will be the chief guest. The march will be organised by the the Orange City Pride March committee with support from city NGO Sarathi Trust and some other organisations and volunteers.
A march for rights
Speaking about the march, LGBT rights activist Anand Chandrani, Chairman, Sarathi Trust says, “The basic intention behind the pride march is that our voice should reach people. A pride march is undertaken so that we can show the world that we exist in the society. During the pride march, the LGBT community comes out in the open in big numbers to tell the world that we have a right to live like others. The world may not accept us at times but we do exist!” Talking about the participation expected at the march, Anand adds, “Last year in March we had the first pride in Nagpur wherein 300 people participated. This year, we are expecting a participation from around 600 people. It’s great that this year parents and friends have come forward to support their loved ones who are from the LGBT community. Also, people will be coming from areas around Nagpur and cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Chennai, etc.”
Why pride march?
Mumbai in January 2017 held its 8th Pride March wherein more than 10,000 people participated. On asking Anand the need behind such marches, Anand says, “In 2013, the Supreme Court criminalised section 377 again and the LGBT community was told that they are a miniscule fraction of country’s population. But then as per the Indian Constitution, every citizen has equal rights. Such marches enable us to show that we are not a minority, in fact we are a big number. It’s not that we do not exist, it’s just that we don’t show it! If 10,000 people from LGBT community came out during the march in Mumbai, imagine the number of people who didn’t come out! The community is present everywhere in India.”
About the march
The total fund required for the Orange City LGBT Pride March this year is Rs 95,000 which is being accumulated through donations and crowd funding. While Sarathi Trust gave the initial amount of funding of Rs 10,000, several other members of the community too have contributed bringing the accumulated money to almost half of the required amount. But even if the complete amount is not accumulated, it will deter the not spirit of the LGBT community in Nagpur as per Anand. He says, “We are hopeful we will be able to gather the money we need. If we don’t gather the money by then, we’ll downsize some activities we have planned.” Informing about what exactly will happen at the march, Anand adds, “This year’s march will start from Samvidhan Square and will go to Lokmat Square from where it will come back to Samvidhan Square. We will start gathering around 3 pm at Samvidhan square. Then if somebody from the community or outside the community wants to speak something, they can do that. We will start walking towards Lokmat Square at around 4 pm and will be back to Samvidhan Square by around 6 pm. Throughout the march, people will be carrying posters, placards, banners, rainbow flags and balloons. We will also be chanting slogans about equality, against discrimination and against section 377.”