Mum­bai has all the more rea­son for Pride

Mid Day - - Comment -

The first month of the New Year has once again brought a rain­bow to the city skies. Pride Month is upon us, and like ev­ery year, there are a slew of events slated for the com­ing weeks. The cul­mi­na­tion will be the Mum­bai Pride March, hap­pen­ing in early Fe­bru­ary, a fit­ting flour­ish to Pride Month.

It was heart­en­ing to see yet more spa­ces open­ing up to the Les­bian Gay Bi­sex­ual Trans­gen­der (LGBT) com­mu­nity. This paper had a front-page re­port about how the Ma­ha­laxmi race course is go­ing to play host to Gu­labi Mela, or the Pink Fete, in late Jan­uary. This fete is or­gan­ised by a gay youth sup­port group, with stalls sell­ing mer­chan­dise from mostly LGBT+ en­trepreneurs, although there are some par­tic­i­pants from out­side the com­mu­nity as well. The fete will be held in a fairly new space within the race course, which has re­cently been opened up for events.

New venues are much more than just phys­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tions of space for the com­mu­nity. They are sym­bolic of more ac­cess and in­clu­siv­ity in main­stream spa­ces, of a so­ci­ety in trans­for­ma­tion. More so this year, as it is the first Pride after the Supreme Court threw out Sec­tion 377 which crim­i­nalised con­sen­sual sex be­tween same-sex adults.

Cyn­ics may scoff that places are host­ing LGBT events be­cause like ev­ery­body else, the gay com­mu­nity is pay­ing for them and money is money in the end. But these are still bar­ri­ers that are be­ing bro­ken. It does con­trib­ute to the ul­ti­mate aim — the in­clu­sion of the queer com­mu­nity in main­stream so­ci­ety, a cause that should gain trac­tion from the SC ver­dict. Ma­ha­laxmi may not know it, but it is part of a life-chang­ing jour­ney for this com­mu­nity.

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