Why I Will Come Out and Walk With Pride Today: An Appeal
This is film editor and screenwriter Apurva Asrani’s appeal to his fellow citizens, on a day when Mumbai will see its biggest gay pride event. Apurva who began his career as the editor of Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya and has written and edited Hansal Mehta’s Aligarh, says he’s tired of being a 2nd class citizen and wants the equality that the constitution guarantees him.
Ironically, this could be the most significant pride event in recent history. Because today we will come out and show the highest court of our country, that we are not a ‘minuscule minority’. Our friends & families will join us at August Kranti Maidan this afternoon to tell the world that if there was ever a time to show ourselves in solidarity, it is today.
‘What is the need to come out publicly?’ A concerned family member asked after I spoke openly about my sexuality on national news. He added ‘So many ‘celebrities’ manage to say what they want without coming out.’ This is my answer, and I hope it will compel some of you, gay or straight to support us this afternoon and in times to come.
Firstly, I didn’t speak as a ‘celebrity’ on Barkha’s show. I spoke as a gay man. Celebrities support causes. This is my own personal cause. It is part of my identity.
I am tired of living like a 2nd class citizen. Tired of pretending to be someone that I’m not. It makes my blood boil when you can hold your heterosexual partner publicly, but I can’t. It angers me when you introduce your ‘husband’ or your ‘wife’ at a public event and I have to introduce my partner as my ‘friend’. I am frustrated that when I sign my insurance papers, I can’t nominate the man who has stood by me for 9 years; nor can I adopt a child with him.
This constitution is meant to award equal rights to all of us and yet I, a law abiding, tax paying citizen, must operate in the shadows of hypocrisy?
While the law is being challenged by some very intelligent and compassionate minds, what baffles me is your silence on this burning issue. How can this be a healthy, productive society, if a large section of its people are denied their basic human rights? Why do you allow this to happen by silently watching from the wings?
Come out and support us because this inequality concerns you as much as it concerns me. This inhumanity on the guise of Section 377 is a cancer in society, that will soon reach you, if you don’t act now. This is why my friends are joining me today as I attend my first gay pride event.
I will not walk as an ‘over the top drag queen’, I will not walk pretending to be the good ‘straight son’. I will not walk as someone who identifies himself as ‘queer’, I will not walk as as an activist nor as a victim. Today I will walk as who I am, and not as who you want me to be. Because my constitution grants me the freedom to be who I am.
- Apurva M Asrani
The gay pride march in Mumbai will begin at the August Kranti Maidan at 3pm on Saturday