Family, friends and Pune’s LGBTI: The Pride Walk for 2017
Bindumadhav Khire, gay activist and founder of Samapathik Trust shares details of the seventh Pride March and his concerns regarding the community
Bindumadhav Khire founded Samapathik Trust to provide legal, medical, and social empowerment services to the LGBTHI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Hijara, Intersex) community through education, training, advocacy, and partnership with the greater Pune community. Today, he holds support meetings, counselling sessions and events to create awareness among straight community. Khire speaks to us about the LGBTI Pride Walk 2017 and more pressing issues in the community.
Tell us about the Pride Walk 2017.
Bindumadhav Khire: Samapathik Trust has been organising this walk for seven years now. This year the theme is to express gratitude to friends and families of LGBTI for their acceptance and support. The Grand Marshall will be a collective of the supporters and members. We want to thank the families and friends for their crucial support. We are expecting around 300 people. Last year we had three corporates join us at the March. We are hoping to see a few more this year.
You have been actively working on this issue since 2002, yet there is so much more to do. What changes does society need to bring in to help the situation?
BK: First and foremost, families and society need to educate themselves about LGBTI. One needs to understand that apart from our sexual orientation we are like every other being. We are not different or unique. It has nothing to do with science of culture, it is natural. If someone from your family has confided in you, be calm. Give it time and accept them. Talking to counsellors may help understand our perspective.
Should schools incorporate sensitising of LGBTI?
BK: Honestly, not many schools talk about sex education, which is a must. So, sensitising students about LGBTI is far-fetched. However, I believe the first step should be in training school counsellors. Counsellors should be able to understand and help students undergoing identity crisis and difficulty with their sexuality. They should be able to help students being bullied or pulled up. Counsellors should create awareness and speak to parents too.
How has media helped you in this struggle?
BK: English newspapers have been vocal and supportive in the past few years. They have aggressively supported our views and demands. They have also written strong and helpful articles, thus making life easy for us. On the other end, films made on LGBTI have been useful in comforting individuals and helping them come out of the closet. These films do nothing for the straight community because they cannot relate to it. The stereotypical portrayal of gay men in films does more harm to our community. It sends the wrong signal and society typecasts us.
What are the misconceptions about the community?
BK: People believe only human beings have LGBTI. This is not true as LGBTI traits have been noticed in animals too. Secondly, one assumes if one is sexually abused by the opposite sex as a child, then he/she turns gay. Third misconception is being LGBTI is a disease which can be treated. And, the fourth issue is that this is a fad adopted from the West, which is false again.
What changes does government need to make?
BK: The government has been helpful when it comes to including us in employment, housing and other schemes. But, our main focus is the curative petition of section 377. We need to have that legalised and live like normal people.
What are you working on right now?
BK: We are working on projects starting July 2017 till 2018. The first project is to conduct awareness workshops for journalism students, the second one is to have dialogues and discussion sessions with policemen, the third one is to train counsellors to understand sexual orientation among kids and how to deal with it. We are also looking at staging plays to create more awareness about the community. We will also have support meetings for families and friends of LGBTI.
Pune LGBTI Pride Walk 2017
Date: June 11, 2017
Start Time: 10.30 am
Starting Point: Sambhaji Park, JM Road, Pune