“1,2,3,4! Open up your closet door!
5,6,7,8! Don’t assume your kids are straight.”
Slogans in English and Kannada – such as the one above – in support of the LGBTQ community filled the air, as scores of people from the community, along with those supporting their cause, took part in the Bengaluru Pride March and Karnataka Queer Habba – 2015 on Sunday afternoon.
Organised by Campaign for sexual Minorities and Sex workers Rights (CSMR), the march from Tulasi Park to Town Hall was as much a celebration of their identities, as was it a demand to end violence and oppression based on gender identity and sexual orientation.
Some demands they put forward were repealing Section 377 of the IPC (which criminalises “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”), and Section 36A of the Karnataka Police Act (which gives power to the police to “regulate eunuchs”). They asked for speedy implementation of the SC judgement on transgender rights and ending discrimination against sexual minorities.
It is one day when everybody from the community comes together and celebrates. Till now, society has not fully accepted social minorities and discrimination, both subtle and non-subtle, continues to exist against us.Dolly Koshy, IT professional
Coming Out of the Closet
Koshy was 13 when she came out of the closet. Though her parents are still not okay with her identity, she says, “They have sort of accepted it”.
There were people who travelled from different cities to participate in the march, 35-year-old Vibha Yadav was one of them. A techie from Mumbai, Yadav said she was there to support the event.
The march was a riot of colours with people holding LGBTQ flags, carrying umbrellas, bags. Someone who stood out in the crowd was 29-year-old Manoj S Khorat, who identifies himself as androgynous.
Khorat dressed up partly as Bhallaladeva and partly as Avantika (a male and a female character from SS Rajamouli’s Bahubali ).
Under Constant Fear
Hailing from a typical Maharashtrian family, Khorat was sure of his identity by the time he was in Class 8. He has come out to all, except his family.
They know that I am gay, but we have never spoken about it directly with each other.Khorat, BPO-professional
Because of Section 377, he feels that people from the LGBTQ community have to live under the constant fear of being blackmailed or of being extorted. Holding a poster which read “Looking for my Bahubali”, Khorat grinned and said, “I broke up with my boyfriend in June, you can help me find my Bahubali,” and went back to posing for cameras.
(Monalisa Das works with The News Minute.)