January 2014 is seeing a number of events organized by Queer Azaadi Mumbai (QAM) as the first half of Mumbai Pride Month come to a successful conclusion. The local LGBTI community reaches the midway mark of its 18-odd events and enters the Pride Week before the Mumbai Pride march to be held on February 1, 2014. QAM is a collective of several organizations from the LGBT community and stands for equal rights for sexual minorities including the decriminalization and the reading down of Section 377. The first such march was held on August 16, 2008 from August Kranti Maidan to Girgaum Chowpatty in the city and this event has been growing bigger and better over the last six years. This year’s calendar has a remarkable diversity of events, touching upon a variety of social and political themes, reflecting in a way the thriving and diverse queer culture of India’s largest, and many would say, most LGBTI-friendly city.
The last three weekends in particular saw a flurry of events. ‘The Q Musical’ was celebrated at Carter Road amphitheater on Saturday, January 25 along with the now-traditional poster-making session by the seaside with a number of performance acts including music and dance making a case for equality before the law. On the same weekend, ‘Pictures Against Prejudice’, a photo/cartoon/caricature competition depicting ‘In and out of the closet’ is being held at The Hub in Bandra. On Sunday, January 19, ‘Q-Fete’ or ‘Gulabi Mela’ was organized on Hill Road, with a number of stalls and fun activities and events. On January 18, ‘Queer and Political‘, a closed-door intra-community discussion event was held at Holy Spirit complex for political dialogue within the community. ‘Nagrik Nukkad’, a citizenship cafe to educate citizens on their rights and responsibilities vis-a-vis the Indian Constitution was held on January 15. A ‘Flash mob’ choreographed to Bollywood music was performed outside Bandra station. ‘Queer Games’ and ‘Kite Flying’, an evening of fun and games, were celebrated on January 12 on Juhu Beach, and a queer Marathi play, ‘Dushyantapriya‘, was staged on January 11 at Savarkar Sabhagruha, Dadar.
Upcoming events in the second half include:
- January 26: ‘Best of Kashish’, a film screening and Dancing Queens performance at Little Theater, NCPA (Day 1)
- January 26: Pictures against Prejudice (Day 2) at The Hub
- January 26: The Amazing Q-Hunt, a city-wide treasure hunt
- January 28: Gulabi Yatra, a rediscovery of the city’s queer heritage through a journey on foot and public transport at various locations
- January 29: Best of Kashish film screenings (Day 2) and panel discussion at PC Saxena Auditorium, IIT Bombay, Powai
- January 31: Dirty Talk, various performances at Three Wise Men, Santacruz
- February 1: Pride March from August Kranti Maidan to Girgaum Chowpatty
- February 1: Post-Pride party at Liquid Lounge, near Girgaum Chowpatty
- February 9: GayBombay Family Meet at Seva Sadan, Grant Road
Sachin is the Hindi-language editor of Gaylaxy Magazine.