The 5th Kerala Queer Pride March 2014 is slated to be held this year on July 26th at Kochi. The Pride March moves to Kochi for the first time, the earlier four editions having been held at Thrissur and Calicut. The theme of this year’s pride march is ‘Breaking the Silence’, which will be an attempt to remind Keralites about the existence of sexual minorities and draw attention to their lives and struggles. The annual Pride March was started in 2010 on July 2nd to commemorate the Delhi High Court’s decision to decriminalize homosexuality in 2009, a decision which was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013 that reinstated Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code.
Jijo Kuriakose, one of the organizers of the march this year, states that they hope to have a more mixed crowd from the LGBT community and straight supporters this year as compared to the previous years which saw more participation from transgenders. Since the Pride is being held in a bigger city this year, the organizers also expect a higher turnout in spite of the fact that Kerala remains deeply conservative.
The organizers had conducted a ‘Free Hugs’ campaign in the run up to the Pride and a movie screening of ‘Prayers for Bobby’ on July 13th , followed by a graffiti painting at a popular public space in Kochi the next weekend.
Jijo says that the city police commissioner has been extremely supportive in allotting them the requisite permissions for the march. He adds, “We have been organizing various awareness programmes across the state for the LGBT community and are also focussed on building a strong network of support groups. The Queer Pride March is organized with the help of all such support groups and other human rights organizations. This year, we hope to have more straight participants in the Pride than LGBT members.”
The Pride March will start at 2 pm on 26th July from the Kerala High Court Junction and end at Rajendra Maidan, passing via Menaka, Ekm Jetty, St. Theresas’ College, Govt. Law College and Subhash Park.
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