Sunday, June 28, 2009

Capital Event – Delhi’s 2nd Gay Pride Parade

The Delhi walla's pretension in writing makes me want to lodge a bullet in his balls - Blogger Nimpipi, the woodchuck chucks
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Gay Pride Delhi

It was bigger than the first.

[Text and pictures by Mayank Austen Soofi]

Delhi’s second gay pride parade, held on the evening of June 28th, 2009, could never be as historic as the first but it was bigger in scale. “Almost 3,000 people came this time compared to less than 1,000 in the last march,” said a participant who did not wish to be named. Queer activist and key event organiser Ms Lesley A Esteves was thrilled with the growing success of the pride march. “We had two months to prepare for this one, while for the last one we had just two weeks,” said a visibly happy Esteves, who put the number of participants at over 2,000.

The large crowd at the parade looked just as cheerful. Drag queens danced to dandiya numbers; masked homosexuals flaunted their orientation but not their identity; and many others who could be straight, gay or bisexual joined in the revelry. Curious onlookers watched the ‘show’ from their bikes, autos, cars and buses. “There were more placards this time, more well-heeled people, and more gay people came with their friends and families,” said the anonymous participant.

Celebrity presence was supplied by designer Mr Suneet Varma, who energetically waved the rainbow flag, the symbol of the pride march. “I was not there in the first parade because I was abroad,” said Mr Varma. “But I’m so happy to see so many gay and transgender people walking together with their mothers, sisters and brothers.”

The signboards were as interesting as the flashy sarees of eunuchs who too marched in the parade. A few slogans demanded the withdrawal of Section 377 from the Indian Penal Code which criminalises homosexual intercourse.

The Delhi Walla caught up with Mr Anitra Choudhary, a Calcutta native, who was resting on the road divider. “I’m not gay,” he said. “But I’ve come here to be with all those who believe that being gay is not equal to being a freak.”

There was a carnival like atmosphere even though the evening was extremely hot and humid. As the parade made its way from Barakhamba intersection in Tolstoy Marg to Jantar Mantar, the marchers, a few in elaborate headdresses, went on blowing their whistles. “I walked all the way,” said Mr Sumantha Roy who came from Amar Colony to take part. Is he, too, not gay? “No, I’m a big hijra,” replied Mr Roy.

Apart from Mr Varma, there were a few other celebrities present including Prince Manvendra Gohil and Hindi film actor Steven Baker. Mr Steven Baker, creative writing instructor in the British Council who portrayed a gay character in the Bollywood film Dostana, was very busy during the parade. “I gave lots of interviews to the media and had my picture clicked many times,” Mr Baker told The Delhi Walla. Being a British citizen, he was quick to point out the differences in the nature of gay parades held in India and England. “In London, the gay pride focuses on fun and frivolity whereas in Delhi it is much more a political demonstration,” he noted. “In the Bombay pride in 2008, most marchers were in masks and disguises,” Mr Baker added, “whereas in Delhi, people are much more comfortable in showing up as they are.”

Indeed, Mr B, a call center worker, danced all through the street with his face exposed for the entire world to see. Since he is not 'out' at his workplace he requested his name not be used. “I’m 25... how long would I be lying to people” he asked. “So I decided not to disguise myself in the parade and if somebody comes to know about me being gay, so be it.”

Each day should be like this day

Gay Pride Delhi

Shock & Awe

Gay Pride Delhi

Getting ready

Gay Pride Delhi

A quiet dignity

Gay Pride Delhi

Happy 'n' gay

Gay Pride Delhi

Me too!

Gay Pride Delhi

Many identities

Gay Pride Delhi

You both an item?

Gay Pride Delhi

We're queer

Gay Pride Delhi

I'm the way I'm

Gay Pride Delhi

Mr Steven Baker (in the middle)

Gay Pride Delhi

Take it, or leave it

Gay Pride Delhi

Drop it

Gay Pride Delhi

Dancing boys

Gay Pride Delhi

The march starts now

Gay Pride Delhi

Love and let live

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Front seat view

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Fashion designer Mr Suneet Varma in Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

It's my day

Gay Pride Delhi

Is love a crime?

Gay Pride Delhi

Let's dance together

Gay Pride Delhi

We too are for the cause

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Queer activist Ms Lesley A. Esteves

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Gay Pride Delhi

Will love, not be scared

Gay Pride Delhi

Very queer people

Gay Pride Delhi


Piyush said...

nice to see this color of delhi..i thought delhi was wll about gardens, grandeur and government buildings..

at least some ppl live here, and post mughal-era identity crisis..delhi seems to be getting an under lying fabric of culture's own culture.

waise, mr delhiwalla. why dont u announce such events or even other events b4hand..mayb a few more ppl can jst show up..

Rima Kaur said...

awesome! come on now, do away with the shitty laws! i think ill celebrate the day india changes.

Anonymous said...

I felt free to be dancing my way in the middle of the street and letting the world know that I was gay without being harassed by the police or people on the sidewalks who are more queer than us.

Mayank,I thought about it and I realized that I never lie to people that I'm not gay...Its just that I'm tired of not being able to tell anyone about a part of me.

A girl from Mumbai said you dance well and asked if I'm "high".And I said yes I am "high on Life".To me,this parade was more of a celebration of life,that is my own.


Rajiv said...


time is changing,law shud b changed

nice as alwys,mayank bhai

Ajit said...

Article 377 of the Constitution deals with the powers and duties of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India.

Did you mean Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code?

I see that your capacity for checking facts is as good as ever.

As is your spelling...

Mayank Austen Soofi said...

Ajit, correcetd. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Mayank, a bloody hypocrite,

you may write whatever you wish to, you dont even leave people who are dead and who were your friends. But you dont have the balls to publish my comment about the pic titled " Getting Ready" on the girl in the blue top.


Erebus n The Darkness said...

I was expecting enormous support and participation...

and i'm glad Pride was so happening.

I'm Hopping d time is changing like anything..

just wann say "Come Out , Come Out, Where ever you are" ... to those who are still afraid to express dem self and make their voice strong enough.


Eternal Soul said...

I am so amazed to see the beautiful color of Queer Pride....

I am happy the time is changing and people are more aware of it...

Immense efforts by LGBT community....

Guys "LETS BE ONE VOICE" .....Lets out of our dual lives and accept ourselves the way we are made....dont be scared of anything just be strong and grab all your strength and make it a big success.

Cheers to all.

LumousP said...

its good that all these pride marches are held.
but i do too think that the common mis-conception of gays being drag queens come from such marches too.

PS: i did sighted a few cute guys in your pic. :)

Trip.thong said...

I didn't go to pride parade..and I think it was more to do with fear than my own volition

However, let me stress that a big reason was this too

Anonymous said...

i m not in favor of legalizing gay marriages

y so?

coz it has many ill effects on society
i agree with the clause ……

Gay marriage r not good
it will increase polygamy and call boys

n these days place s like gay venues n parties r turning into brothels

i want it to be proved as natural and a non criminal act

it is not crime to b a gay
N it is 100% natural
but marriages makes no sense
bcoz marriages r for growing generations
many str8 criminal minded people can use gay guys
for money
by marrying them n asking for alumni
or sharing there property and assets

gays r soft and emotional so they can be easily trapped

so i dont want all those stuff


they r happy now attending parades
but will b unhappy very soon in future
we can date , sex or live with our partner
no one cares or no one peeps in our bedrooms
but what is the use of marriages ?

y do we want legal identity
thats so weird !!

if we r in relation
n we r living together

i can make a will that if i will die my assets will go to you
.... but y marriage ??
its stupidity

if we r living in some apartment

So u can just stay with ur partner there..
for what reason u wnaa flaunt yourself as MRS .. so n so

kuch nahi milega

only crime will grow*
n gays will b the victims
so we r spoiling our future by legalizing gay marriage act
only two things should b done

1. gay is natural ( it’s a natural feeling from heart n mind )
2. being gay or having a gay sex in private is not crime
thats it
nothing beyond that

abhhi ttto they r doing all these parades for masti

90% of them do not know about for hat they r there ,
they just went for masti , dance n fun

in the parade the media is showing only chhakis in bright rainbows
and they are dancing and funny gestures

gays rnt chakkas


its giving a bad image to the world about gays
gays r not transgenders
or hijraaas
we shuld separate 1. ( gay n lesbian ) from 2. (transgenders n hijras)

hijras r due to ther physical thingy

they show eunuchs as gays

gay n lesbos r due to choice thingy

gays r very normal
n smart
n good loking
gays have better dressing sense than anyone
gays r everytime classy and creative

dont know y they r mixing two different identities
gay n lesbos will not go and dance @ weddings or birth and demand for money
thats a job of eunuchs
no offense for hijraa community please !!! sorry if I offended you 
but we need to understand that gay-lesbians and hijraa ( eunuchs ) are two different things .............

there are : 1. straights 2. gay-lesbo 3. eunuchs 4. cross dressers
and they all are different
m not kidin here
m very serious


SS said...

Great work M!

I think it is absolutely amazing to ring in another Pride year! It is through such platforms people can gain strength and ispiration to commence living as a true gay person and be proud of their lives! Sexuality in my view is not one's only identity, but yet another fabric layer to the "whole" person. When we start fearing others, we become subservient to yet another oppression -- really, life is very short, why live on set rules also craeting by common man? Live your life as a proud man/woman and spread your positive energy, intellect and love to all others.Besides if homosexuality were an option, I hardly doubt if anyone would volunteer to invite such excruciating painful way to live, but, is it not worth living in such depth no matter what odds one faces??

Happy Pride! Maan, great you published and the photo essay looks so much fun!

P.s...well said, Rima! We all shall celebrate that day -- on Mayank's tab!


Ajit said...

Aswini @10:34 pm: I'm not sure if you are drunk, stupid, or simply a troll. Given your rambling, incoherent screed, you could, of course, be all three.

To come to the gist, scrapping Section 377 of the IPC has nothing to do with gay marriage. It simply removes the existing ban on homosexual sex between consenting adults.

Gay marriage is another matter. Whether or not you approve depends on whether you consider the act of marriage to be a sacrament or a contract.

Hindu and Christian tradition treats marriage as a sacrament but civil law -- and even Islamic law -- considers it a contract. There are legal implications, insurance and inheritance for instance.

Assume for instance that Soofi cons some idiot into marrying him, and that this putative husband's employers offer health coverage for spouses. That would then come to Soofi's aid should he ever be, say, punched in the face and end up with a bleeding nose and two black eyes.

I find the idea of gays being married faintly nutty but that is okay; I don't quite understand why some others smoke. Or drink. Or eat liver... :-)

Ajit said...

SS @12:49 pm: I shall not celebrate when -- or if -- Section 377 is scrapped but I won't be mourning either. If you want to see some real celebrations, scrap, say, the Income Tax Act! :-)

meTAMorphoSIS said...

Last photograph: Amazing!

Anonymous said...

Even if the gay marriages are legalized in India, the society will still see gays/lesbians as people entrapped by evilness and will never accept it. I am sure about it as a country like India is still very customary and superstitious in a lot of ways. Gay marriages are legal here in Amsterdam but still gays get beaten up whenever some people get the chance to do so. They are still seen as abnormal and bad for the society.

Legalizing may give the gays some rights to practice whatever they want but they will still face the same prejudice and more problems when they will get in the open.

The solution may lie in educating the society about human biology and why someone is gay and hetero. That may be the first step in the right direction.

Gallimaufry said...

Love your photographs. They capture, as always, the wonderful spirit of Delhi. Kudos.

justlikethat said...

Hi...I really wanted to ask you one you ask people before taking their pictures or you just take it anyway!!??

Kaushik Chatterji said...

The problem with the whole issue is that the most ardent rights activists are not part of the affected population and are instead just shouting their lungs out in order to increase their social media visibility - supporting the gay cause is in our country a mere benchmark of the extent of one's liberal attitude.

sneha said...

hi mayank...
nice coverage of gay paade..i was not in delhi at that time ,otherwise evn i wanted to cover colorful evnt like this, really nice colors , moods, expressions and feelings r displayed by ur pics....
but about homo sexulality mayank i will like to comment tht....i don't have prob wid ppl who have opted it....but they should try to control their feelings .....becoz b4 u must have heard cases of eveteasing by r teasing gals in metro, public transports, hostels,etc....[evn guy to guy teasing is also heard] n that is really pathetic....evn i have felt and faced such there must b some law abt such teasing , becoz even normal people have right to live freely...i don't mind if lesbo n gay ppl marry ...but they should also folllow sum decency ...and should happy wid their partner...and not behave like lofers ....

Vikki said...

dude...the photos are awesome and you look even better...hope you were in Chennai Pride and taken my photos...keep rocking

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