Delhi to celebrate gay pride
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Delhi to celebrate gay pride

Street plays, a full fledged wedding band and even a float. After a successful gay march last year, a first of its kind, the Capital is gearing up for its second edition on June 28.

art and culture Updated: May 27, 2009 21:05 IST

Street plays, a full fledged wedding band and even a float. After a successful and colourful gay pride march last year, the first of its kind to be held in Delhi, the Capital is gearing up for its second edition on June 28. The organisers say it will be even more exciting this year.

Enthused by the overwhelming response at last year's march, Mohnish Malhotra, one of the organisers, said they are planning to add a whole lot of new features this time to the march, which will see gays, lesbians, transgenders and bisexuals joining in.

"Last year we had the rainbow coloured flags and beating of drums in the pride. This time we plan to have a street play at the end of the march, probably a wedding band playing music as people march and even a float, if we get the necessary permission from the police," Malhotra told IANS.

"We are still working out the logistics, but we definitely want to add different elements to the pride this year," he added.

According to Malhotra, a similar pride will take place June 28 in Kolkata and in Sri Lanka.

"Kolkata has the gay pride every year, and this year they will have it on June 28 like Delhi. Mumbai and Bangalore will also have the march like last year but probably not on the same date. Chennai may have its first pride this year," Malhotra said.

Poolli Avasu, another organiser, said: "The queer pride marches are an effort for queer people in these cities to occupy public space and remake them into one that knows we exist and that accepts us for who we are."

In a nation where homosexuality is a crime under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, many were surprised by the huge turnout in the pride last year that took place June 29.

While its organisers had not expected more than 150 people, over 500 participated in the march.

Like last year, this time too the pride will start at 5.30 p.m. near Barakhamba Road, going up Tolstoy Marg.

The history behind the "Queer Pride" goes back to June 28, 1969, when armed squads of the New York Police Department (NYPD) raided the Stonewall Inn, an obscure pub in Greenwich village in New York, that was a regular watering hole of gays.

Several people were bundled into waiting vans. The gay groups at the bar protested and the outcry against the arrests led to full-scale riots and arson that lasted five days.

Since then, every year the week leading up to June 29 is remembered by sexual minorities and those with alternative sexual leanings across the world as the "Rainbow Pride Week".

First Published: May 27, 2009 21:01 IST