As Delhi gears up for its third annual gay pride parade, the city’s LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community is trying to make it bigger, better, and more carnival-like than its last two editions. Slated to take place on November 28, 2pm onwards, the parade will start from the Barakhamba Road traffic signal. This year, nobody will protest against the Indian Penal Code’s Section 377, which criminalised gay sex, as it was amended by the Delhi High Court in July last year."There will be celebrations in the real sense," says activist Ashok Row Kawi. "There will be less of protest, but we must remember the struggle," says designer Suneet Varma. "We plan to have floats and music," says Mohnish Malhotra, a member of the Delhi Queer Pride Committee, a key organiser of the parade.
Another novelty will be that the rainbow stripes — the symbol of gay pride — will not only be restricted to badges and flags. "We’ll have woollen rainbow mufflers, which people can use till the winter lasts," says Malhotra. New slogans are also being thought of. This Friday, a fund-raising party for the parade will be hosted at Orange Hara, a lounge in Saket. Open to all, the party will have drinks, dance and a donation box.
While in the last two years, the organisers’ publicity drive, comprising pamphlets and posters, was largely limited to chic south Delhi markets, this time, the reach will be more extensive. The activists will distribute pamphlets in places such as Lakshmi Nagar (east Delhi) and Punjabi Bagh (west Delhi), and also in nearby towns such as Faridabad and Meerut. Online activities will be carried out on social networking websites such as Facebook, as well as popular gay dating sites like Planet Romeo. The parade will walk down Tolstoy Marg and end with a candle light ceremony at Jantar Mantar.
Sunny side up
This year, the gay pride parade falls on a Sunday. This time, it will take place in the afternoon, unlike earlier, when the parades were held during summer evenings. The pleasant weather is expected to attract a larger crowd. Only 800 people were part of the first parade in 2008. In 2009, the number increased to 2,000. This year, the number of people attending is expected to double.