“Welcome to Ben-Gay-luru!” proclaimed a hand-made poster. And for a couple of hours on a late Sunday afternoon for the short distance between National College and Town Hall, that is exactly what it was.
About 600 or so people—according to media estimates—gathered for Bangalore’s second gay pride parade on 28 June 2009. On display were an array of mismatched rainbow paraphernelia, including T-shirts, scarves, flags, posters, umbrellas, hats and bandanas. Add to that the music and the enthusiasm of the participating crowd, and it would be safe to say that fun was had by all.
The march was the culmination of the week-long Karnataka Queer Habba (habba = festival) organized by the Campaign for Sex-workers and Sexual Minorities Rights (CSMR), a collective of individuals and organizations. Events in the habba included a cricket match, film screenings, discussions, a story-telling session and more. Among the organizers were Alternative Law Forum, Sangama, Good As You, Karnataka Sex Workers’ Union, Karnataka Sexual Minorities Forum, Swabhava, Aneka and a number of others.
The participants of the march included LGBT representatives and supporters, activists, students and many more people. It appeared to generate a decent amount of interest in bystanders as well, many of whom were overheard talking about “gay rights” and such. Pamphlets in English and Kannada with information about the significance of the day, about rights of sexual minorities, and about Section 377 were aslo being distributed. Since only part of the road was occupied, curious onlookers leaned out from buses and cars, and waved, including a bunch of saffron-clad folks who probably didn’t know what it was all about!
For a very modest collection of photos: clicky here.