Every year around December 1, you see people in the city with red ribbons pinned to their sleeves showing their solidarity in a small, but sure way, to the cause of HIV and AIDS. Today, from about 3 pm onwards, the Heroes Project and High Street Phoenix will host a number of activities that aim at promoting awareness about the condition.
Vaibhavi Shitut, state director of Heroes Project says, “To this day, people believe that AIDS or HIV can spread through touch. HIV+ patients are looked down upon, and are shunned in society. Transgender communities are looked at as ‘gande log’ (dirty people) and a person who’s suffering from the condition is shunned. These are the kinds of myths and ideas that we want to erase through the event.”
The day will begin with the setting up of a condom box by Aastha Parivaar, an organisation set up by sex workers from Mumbai and Thane. There will also be a ‘Pledge Your Support’ machine and a doctors’ room, which will be open for counselling. Later in the afternoon, veteran rangoli artist Ramakant Shedge will start work on his 6 ft x 4 ft live rangoli, which will be followed with dance performances by Elizabeth Pereira and her dance troupe, and children from the Aryan Dance Academy.
Singers Subhrima Bhadudi and Padmanav Bordoloi from the current season of TV reality show Sa Re Ga Ma Pa are also set to perform.
“I have grown up in a family which has always believed in giving back to society, and this is my own little contribution,” says Pereira, who will be performing to a couple of salsa and jazz numbers.
The evening will end with the reading of an excerpt from the book Not Like Most Young Girls, by actor Swapnil Joshi. The book is a compilation of real-life stories from members of the transgender and sex workers communities.