For the first time in Gujarat, the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community will be holding a Gay Pride parade to make their presence felt in the state, ahead of the 2014 general election. Scheduled for October 6, the parade’s sloganis ‘Leaders who will give us equal rights will get our votes’. The parade would be held in Surat, the business capital of the state.
The 3-km-long march would commence from New Civil Court and conclude at Kargil Chowk. With hundreds participating in the parade, event organisers applied for permissions from the government and claim that the administration gave them a verbal go ahead, and asked them to start preparing for the parade. The event has been named as Gujarat LGBT Pride festival, and NGOs working for the rights of the LGBT community in the state have been asked for maximum participation.
Confirming that the parade will be held on the scheduled date, event organiser Swagat M Shah said the main purpose of this rally was to let the political circle in the state know about the community’s presence. “Apart from conducting the parade for the pride of the LGBT community, we want the politicians of Gujarat to know that they need to treat us as equals if they need our votes,” he said. Shah claimed that about 20 per cent voters in the country belong to the LGBT community and that the community members could decide the fate of several politicians during the upcoming elections. “We have a massive voter base in the country and through this parade we want everyone to know about our existence,” Shah said.
Coming out of the closet
In January 2013, for the first time a Gujarati film based on gays, GohilMeghadhanushya --The Colour of Life, was released, which was narrated by Prince Manvendra Singh. “All along, the gay community has found very little space in the popular narrative and the ‘very little’ that they did was only for ridicule,” said Dr KR Devamani, the film’s director