Amid reports of a gradual shrinking of cultural, liberal and intellectual space where books, writers, movies and intellectuals are slowly but surely being silenced, it comes as a pleasant surprise to learn that Mumbai’s gay pride march has got the green signal. The march is slated to be held tomorrow afternoon.
Initially, the march was denied permission by traffic cops but after a round of meetings it has now got the go-ahead. This is a welcome move by authorities, as the march is becoming a part of the city’s ethos. If the march were to be disallowed, it would be ironical after the HC read down Section 377, decriminalising sex between two consenting adults of the same sex.
A no-go would have sent a mixed message. On the one hand, the nation has struck down the law, but on the other India’s supposedly most cosmopolitan, liberal city is putting the brakes on a march. While the pride march had a huge novelty value when it started off in 2008, some of which has worn off over the years, it is vital that the march remain part of the city’s calendar.
For all the supposed progress, it will still take time to blur the so-called lines between gay and mainstream. Gays now must not be confined to different spaces or a world different from the rest. What better way to illustrate that than by seeing the community and supporters walk on the street to make a rainbow-coloured statement? Some time ago, a book of stories by the gay community was launched at a mainstream bookstore in South Mumbai.
The space was significant and proved that demarcations between what spaces gay and the mainstream inhabit are gradually disappearing. This is an important part of becoming part of the larger society. Cohesiveness, acceptance and awareness is not only in the mind but in physical spaces too.