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Photo by: Suchandra Das

Photo by: Suchandra Das

Streets of Kolkata, on 23rd of August, witnessed something like never before. A bunch of queer people, walked down the evening streets of Kolkata, asking for social acceptance, and giving out hugs to people, in ‘Queer Hugs Kolkata’. The campaign was organized by the group Harmless Hugs.
Photo by: Suchandra Das

Photo by: Lopamudra Das Mahapatra

Picture by: Kaustav Manna

Picture by: Kaustav Manna

They were holding placards and posters saying various things, but one thing was constant, they were asking for acceptance and love. Some placards read, “I am QUEER, will you hug me?” in both Bengali and English, while the others spoke of No Hate and Unconditional Love.
Photo by: Suchandra Das

Photo by: Suchandra Das

Photo by: Suchandra Das

Photo by: Lopamudra Das Mahapatra

They received a mixed reaction from Kolkatans.  While some people readily came forward to hug the huggers, some people were apprehensive of the word ‘Queer’. A man refused to hug initially and then looked on for thirty minutes. After this long time span, he finally decided to hug one of the huggers.  This is how acceptance proceeds. 
Photo by: Suchandra Das

Photo by: Lopamudra Das Mahapatra

Photo by: Suchandra Das

Photo by: Lopamudra Das Mahapatra

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Photo by: Lopamudra Das Mahapatra

She was standing there with her son contempleting whether to hug or not. When we approached she greeted us with smiles and added, you are like my son (Picture by: Sayambhu Sen)

She was standing there with her son contempleting whether to hug or not. When we approached she greeted us with smiles and added, you are like my son (Picture by: Sayambhu Sen)

Picture by: Niladri R Chatterjee

Picture by: Niladri R Chatterjee

Interacting with the elderly (Picture by: Niladri R Chatterjee)

Interacting with the elderly (Picture by: Niladri R Chatterjee)

Picture by : Niladri R Chatterjee

Picture by : Niladri R Chatterjee

After wondering for nearly half and hour he approached us. First, a hand shake. Second, a big hug. (Photo: Niladri R Chatterjee)

After wondering for nearly half and hour he approached us. First, a hand shake. Second, a big hug. (Picture by: Niladri R Chatterjee)

A team from Mumbai, which has been visiting 28 places collecting snippets of happiness, were very interested in this kind of a sensitization drive too. A team of Huggers not only got a lot of hugs, but were also  treated to Ice Creams! Rainbow batches were handed over to people who hugged!
Photo by: Suchandra Das

Photo by: Suchandra Das

Photo: Niladri R Chatterjee

Picture by: Niladri R Chatterjee

Picture by: Sayambhu Sen

Picture by: Sayambhu Sen

Photo by: Suchandra Das

Photo by: Suchandra Das

It was, all over, a happy hugging day.
(Photo Credits : Suchandragraphy Team, Kaustav Manna, Niladri R. Chatterjee and Sayambhu Sen)