We Are Marching on 16 August

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After some thoughtful discussions, we are completely in agreement that the Queer Azaadi March will happen  as planned, in full glory. We took this decision with a deep belief in our collective and individual responsibility for your health and our health, and faith in your sense of responsibility to our health and your health. It is important to remember that the March is in an open and outside environment, not in an enclosed environment, especially one with recirculated air. No outside events have been cancelled.

It has been recommended by the medical community that any immuno-compromised persons,  elderly persons, and people already ill with active health complications such as diabetes should avoid crowded gatherings. We are in agreement with these recommendations and believe that people will and should follow them.

People with fever, coughs, colds, difficulty breathing or manifesting any of the symptoms of swine flu are encouraged to stay home and take care of their health. They will be there in spirit and we can all march together next year. Send a friend instead holding a placard with your name.

Like last year, there will be many people in masks. Bright colourful, sparkly, fanciful, feathered, beautiful masks. Any people sporting swine flu preventative masks or bandannas will fit right in so you are invited to wear them. Whether worn to protect yourself from a virus or from homophobia, all masks are welcome. Both types of masks  will be distributed free in limited numbers, so also plan to bring your own.

Please do join us in this celebration of ourselves as we are and in our demands for

* The 377 case will now be heard in the Supreme Court, hence our demand for this law be read down continues.

* The Constitution must include provisions to deal with all discrimination on the grounds of sexuality or gender.

*Those amongst us who are transgendered are not recognised by society. Equal citizenship rights and opportunities should be extended to all who do not fit into either of the two categories of male and female.

* The medical establishment must be made aware of the reality of our lives and our needs, and cease all insensitive and cruel attempts to ‘cure’ us.

* Every individual is under tremendous pressure to marry a person of the opposite sex, as marriage is seen as a must in our society. We are launching a campaign against all such forced marriages.

* We call for an end to homophobia and transphobia. We want freedom from violence and hate within families, in educational institutions, at places of work and in public spaces. We especially demand that fundamentalist forces stop abusing us and poisoning people’s minds against us.

We invite you, too, to join us on our march and to raise your voice along with ours!

—Queer Azadi Mumbai

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