For many years, I’ve missed this event in Bangalore as I was always out of town. But this time, when my friend
told me he was going, I said I’d go, too. Before that, we went to the
Bangalore Harmonica and Reed Instrument Festival, 2015
where where I was in time to see my friend Ashok Sengupta playing, both solo and with others. We then walked to the Puttannachetty Town Hall, and waited a fairly long time for the parade to arrive (it was the end point.) When they did, it was a buzz of activity, with gay, lesbian, bisexual, transvestite and queer people taking part.
To illustrate that sexual orientation covers not just "gay" and "straight" but a wide range, the LGBTQ community has now adopted the rainbow of colours as their signature, and they displayed the rainbow colours in many innovative ways.
There was speech-making, dancing, slogan-chanting, and a lot of dressing up, very colourful and attractive to a photographer!
The increasing noise level due to the evening traffic at this venue made sure that no more than twenty people ever heard what anyone said or sang! In the light drizzle and the gloomy evening, the air was still charged with energy and excitement.
There were strong protests against Section 377, which, recently brought to law, makes homosexuality a criminal offence in India. I consider this an extremely retrogressive step, and the LGBTQ community wholeheartedly shares this opinion.
I am not able to understand why we seem to be so intolerant of people who seem "different from us." Surely things like religion and one's sex life are intensely personal things, and not the business of the whole world?
I think that by marginalizing people whose orientation is "different", we are making life much tougher for them, and probably increasing promiscuity as well, because they cannot openly have "different" relationships but must resort to secrecy and deviousness in order to try and meet people of a similar orientation. How can this be good for society? Also, it stokes anger and resentment in their minds, and that will definitely have a negative impact, too, if there is an "us-vs-them" attitude in our minds.
However, a "side-thought" that occurred to me, very strongly, was the politicalization of colours in our society these days. Pink is for cancer victims and survivors; black is for protests and war veterans; green has Islamic signficance is has religious overtones; yellow-and-red are the colours of Karnataka, making a political statement...and now, the LGBTQ community has taken over the rainbow.
The colour aspect came into sharp and poignant focus at the venue. The LGBTQ parade was to conclude outside the hall; inside, Swami Parthasarathi and his daughter Sunanda were giving a discourse on the Bhagavad Gita. Their acolytes were all dressed in pristine cream-coloured clothes. So the colours of the rainbow,
and the white that these colours all combine to make
...represented by different sections of society, coming together with a message that didn't seem too different to me...i found the irony iresistible.
Though I enjoyed the dancing,
singing and the general energy,
it did make me feel sad to reflect that a community finds itself in a minority that is oppressed enough to have to make such statements in public about its existence and its right, having its members dress in outre garments and downright fancy dress, to make a public statement.
One positive note was the efficient way in which the police shepherded the parade down to the venue and kept a benign eye on the event until it ended, and also the peaceful way in which the community made a stand without any form of angry protest. Their banners only asked why they could not marry (rather ungrammatically!)
for the repeal of Section 377, and proclaimed,
“All we need is love.”
Is that not what ALL of us need?
Prathap’s blogpost, a factual account, is
Dr. Roosevelt Thomas, a well-known author and consultant in the field of Diversity, made the point that while the majority feels good about saying that they are “tolerant,” the minority may not feel good about being “tolerated.”
I stumbled on a well-made moovie about a relationship that turns out to be “not the usual”, and how honesty breaks it:
I wonder why we are so intolerant of those ‘who are not like us”.
The photos I took are on my FB album,
(a few more than I’ve posted here.)