Mugs and T-shirts with witty one liners like 'Jalebii High', Pink Sheep of the Family’, ‘Haan Hun! Toh?’ (Yes I am! So?) are catching up among the capital’s LGBT community that held the third edition of its Gay Pride Parade on Sunday. Such customised products are increasingly gaining popularity among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community which wants to assert its identity a year after the High Court decriminalised homosexuality.
An exclusive exhibition of such specially customised cloth and accessories line for the parade was on offer by the store Azaad Bazaar.
“We started our exhibition here on Friday. We have received a great response from our clients here,” says Sabina from Azaad Bazaar.
According to Sabina, not only the LGBT community, but also the non-LGBT groups have shown enthusiastic interest in the products. “Even the non-queer community has shown a lot of interest in our products and out of the total sales 40 percent comprises this group,” she said.
She added that the store will permanently place its products at the Peoples Tree store in central Delhi. The niche market segment spanning clothing and fashion accessories, tourism and media targeted at the LGBT community is fast growing in India, with entrepreneurs wanting to cash in on its purchasing power.
Sanjay Malhotra founded Indjapink, India's first dedicated online gay travel boutique, nearly two years back. It has catered to around 500 high-end foreign and Indian tourists. The Delhi-based firm organises special tours to holiday spots in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kerala among others and charges approximately $200 (over Rs.9,000) a day.
Merchandise apart, the special literature too is catching up. Social activist Shobhna S. Kumar is the brain behind Queer-INK, an e-store catering to the gay community. “I got the idea for this after I personally experienced the lack of availability of books on queer issues in India. Even if they are there in a mainstream book store, queer people hesitate to buy it,” says Kumar, director of queer-ink.com.