In the tenth edition of Bengaluru Queer festival, over 7,000 LGBTQ supporters took part in a rally.
On November 26, over 7,000 people took over the roads of Bengaluru for an annual walk organised by the Coalition for Sex workers, Sexual & Sexuality Minorities’ Rights (CSMR), an organisation based in Bengaluru. The marchers vouched for the rights of the marginalised community, they chanted slogans and danced together to the sound of drumbeats.
Namma Pride and Karnataka Queer Habba celebrated a decade-old journey holding posters and banners calling for the abolishment of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. The provision, which curbs the rights of sexual minorities in the country, was introduced during the British rule of India. It criminalises sexual activities "against the order of nature", which arguably include homosexual activities.
The pride walk started from the Lokmanya Tilak Park near Majestic Metro Station and continued till the Freedom Park. Participants came all the way from Delhi, Chennai, Mumbai to show their support for the LGBTQIA community. Apart from denouncing the Section 377, the marchers also called for the repeal of Section 36-A of the Karnataka Police Act — it gives the Police Commissioner the power to regulate eunuchs in his/her area by maintaining a register of the names and places of residence of those “who are reasonably suspected of kidnapping or emasculating boys or of committing unnatural offences.”
The protestors also demanded the immediate release of pending grants from 2014 to 2016 from the National Aids Control Organisation and State Aids Control Society. In October this year, Karnataka approved a policy to define, identify, certify and safeguard the rights of transgenders living in the state. However, the state is yet to form a transgender welfare board or commission — which is one of the primary demands of activists. In October, the policy was cleared to protect transgenders from the insults, social discrimination and abuse they face. As a part of the policy, measures to integrate transgenders into the mainstream will be implemented by setting up transgender cells. Counselling centres will also be set up to address stigma, discrimination and violence, identification and certification — which is a critical aspect of being counted as a transgender besides legal support.
The raging slogans of the marchers made way in the otherwise chaotic roads of Bengaluru. Here is a photo-story that captured some of the bright moments of the pride walk.
Picture Credits: Namma Pride, Anwesh Sahoo, Chulbul Pandey, Mahesh Natarajan,