As New Yorkers celebrate the legalisation of same-sex marriage, Mumbai too has reasons to go pink this weekend. Rejoicing the second anniversary of the landmark revision of Section 377, which decriminalised homosexuality in the country, city clubs will host queer nights this weekend.
For Jaymin and Nakul, founders of Salvation Star’s Khush Nights, which have been organising monthly parties for the community since 2007, it’s taken a long time to bring the pink currency to high-profile venues like Blue Frog and Zenzi. “Clubs are wary of hosting parties for the queer community, since they do not want to be known as gay venues. So in the past, we have hosted parties for the community at small bars and banquet halls,” says Jaymin.Starting today, the eve of the legal U-turn, the LGBT merrymaking kick off with Khush Nights, followed by a gay shindig on Saturday night. On Sunday, the organisers will screen queer films. "I’ve been working on the idea of Q-nights for a year now. While I’ve been to LGBT parties, there hasn’t been one where gay artistes perform for their community. There’s always a lack of gay content. It’s like celebrating a big fat Indian wedding with a baaraat (entourage) of white people," says DJ Ma Faiza.
On Saturday, she and other queer artistes will take to the stage at Blue Frog, where they hope to colour the city in rainbow hues. She says, “There’s immense talent. We have designers, stylists, musicians, artists and filmmakers among our queer peers. This is the first time all of them will come together.”
Other artistes performing will include Alisha Batth (one half of India’s lesbian band, Middle Sisters) and gay singer-songwriter Leon D’Souza. Stand-up comics Nidhi and Shane will put up an act as Apphia K recites poetry and drag queen Adam Pasha surprises audiences. The dress code is cabaret and the 41-year-old DJ says, “Those without feather boas for the occasion, can pick up props from Party Hunterz, Azaad Bazaar and D Closet, which will have stalls at the event.”
Despite the celebrations, Ma Faiza insists the country still has a long way to go. “I moved here 18 years ago as someone who was open about her sexuality. So far, it hasn’t been a problem holding hands with women in public, probably because many confuse a six-foot, well-built person to be a man. Often, I’ve been addressed as mister and been denied access to the women’s loo. It’s frustrating.” About the Saturday night party, she says, “Gay parties across the world are known to be outrageous, flamboyant, fun, sexy and wild. The energy will be great. People should just come with an open mind and heart.”
Salvation Star’s Khush Nights: Groove to the music on the eve of July 2.
Tonight at Zenzi, Bandra.
Q-Night: A host of LGBT artistes come together. There’s everything from music to standup comedy, poetry and shopping at Blue Frog on July 2. Entry Rs. 500
Best of Kashish: Watch the best of queer cinema with short-films selected from this year’s Mumbai International Queer Film Festival. At Zenzi, Bandra, 5 pm onwards