Delhi’s second gay pride parade this Sunday could not be as historic as the first, but it was bigger. “Almost 3,000 people came, compared to less than 1,000 in the last March,” said a participant who did not wish to be named.
Queer activist and key event organiser Lesley A Esteves was thrilled. “We had two months to prepare for this one, while for the last one we had just two weeks,” said Esteves, putting the crowd strength at 2,000.
Drag queens danced to dandiya music; masked homosexuals flaunted their orientation but not their identity; and many who could be straight, gay or bisexual joined in the revelry. “This time, there were more placards and more gay people came with families,” said the source.
Celebrity presence was supplied by designer Suneet Varma, who waved the rainbow flag, the symbol of the pride march. “I was not there in the first parade,” said Varma. “But I’m so happy to see so many gay and transgender people walking with their mothers, sisters and brothers.”
Among others present were Prince Manvendra Gohil and Steven Baker. Baker, a creative writing instructor in the British Council who played a gay person in Dostana, noted that “in the Mumbai march in 2008, most were in masks and disguises, whereas in Delhi, people are comfortable with showing up as they are”.
Indeed, B, a call centre worker, danced with his face exposed. “I’m 25... how long would I be lying to people?” he said. “So I did not disguise myself. If somebody finds out about me being gay, so be it.”