Their shared efforts to create awareness among the law and enforcement agency seems to have borne fruit, as this year the organizers of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, bisexual and transgender) parade was confronted by a different police force.
For the first time in the last three years since the Pune Pride parade initiated in the city in 2011, city cops, displaying an encouraging approach, distributed roses among the participants. This gesture from the personnel of Faraskhana police station, surprised and pleased the organisers of the event.
Around 200 people marched their way through Laxmi Road on Sunday. “It’s appreciable that the police are also coming forward to support us, which awould certainly spread a positive message in society about the rights of LGBT people,” said Bindu Madhav Khire, founder of Samapathik Trust, which had planned the parade.
Khire added that he never faced any problems during the process of acquiring permission from the police to organise the demonstration. “Over the last three years, we have been following our own guidelines, and have been maintaining discipline during the march. That may be the reason why, after experiencing our regimented approach, policehad a welcoming approach towards yesterday’s parade,” said Khire, adding that skin show and obscene gestures were strictly prohibited in the parade.
Speaking with MiD DAY, inspector Bhanupratap Barge said that after taking charge of Faraskhana police station, he had started appreciating the problems of LGBT people. The area of Budhwar Peth, where many members of the community reside, comes under the jurisdiction of Faraskhana police station.
“It was my idea to welcome the parade with distribution of flowers, so that LGBT people start trusting the police,” added Barge.
The main purpose of Sunday’s parade was to convince the lesbians to come forward and participate. “Over the past three years we have been observing that lesbians are still hesitant to join us, unlike transgenders and gays who have been enthusiastically participating in the march. Therefore, groups of lesbians from Mumbai came to lead the march this time,” Khire added.
Small towns see change
Dr Sham Jadhav from Parabhani participated in the parade for the second consecutive year. Dr Jadhav, who is a member of The Light Asia Socio Trust (that works for LGBT rights) in Parbhani, said that he wanted to witness the change in the mindset of people hailing from small towns.
“We have only seven members who work for the LGBT trust in Parbhani. People here are unsure about coming forward. However, three others from Parbhani had taken part in the parade, which shows that the scenario in the small towns will transform in the near future,” added Dr Jadhav.