Monthly Archives: January 2012

Pride Note


Time to Assemble: 3 pm

What time will The March begin: About 4 pm

Where will we march to : Girgaum Chowpatty.

Who will lead us: The QAM Banner and the Giant Pride Flag.

Where to Assemble: Outside August Kranti Maidan . Since we do not have permissions to assemble inside the Maidan we will assemble outside the Maidan on the pavements all the way upto Nana Chowk. Collect your posters and banner that you would like to march with . Get your mini Pride Flags

How do we know that the March has begun: The banner and the flag start marching . The security volunteers will start telling you to join in the march behind the flag .

Do’s and Don’ts: Do stand on the pavements, dont stand on the road .Allow the flag and banner to move ahead without obstructing its way. People around AKM will follow the flag first and will be joined later by people on pavement towards Nana chowk.

Avoid smoking in public. Keep the march clean , no liquor or greater smokes or spirits.

What Happens next: Nashik Dhols start at the Nana Chowk and the march has begun.

On arrival at Girgaum Chowpatty: Expect some refreshments, talk , have fun , disperse in a while and the join the Post Pride Party at Karma(Charged entry)

Are You An “Equal Opportunity” Employer? Join Us @ the QAM pride!



This year, Mumbai celebrates the 4th Queer Azaadi March (the Queer Pride of Mumbai) Year after year, there has been an upsurge in the crowd.


‘Queer’ stands for all LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) as well as for Hijra, Kothi, Panthi individuals. This is a sexual minority group not accepted by Indian society that recognizes only two genders and considers only heterosexual relationships valid. Queer Azaadi March is an expression, a voice, a celebration and a platform to ask for equal rights of these individuals conducted in form an annual parade in Mumbai.  


The first pride, if I remember correctly, had many people marching with masks, and many more shying away from prying cameras just to escape the minutest probability of being caught on camera.   Year after year, layer after layer, the masks came off and people started marching out and about.  An interesting point to note is the uprising of the Pink Rupee. Just as people started coming out of their closet, there were companies that focused on the queer market came up and created quite a flutter in the market space. Also, companies like Google and IBM have set the sail by being an “Equal Opportunities Employer”. I feel this pride is an excellent opportunity for India Inc to project itself as a liberal group just as google , IBM and others do globally.


All you need to do is carry a  banner that says something  like


Gender – Sexuality: No Bar.

The only measure is excellence.”


(… Or your own version of it)


Besides doing good for the community, it leverages the brand image of the participating entity  and puts it in a prominent place in the global map.


Join us!


The Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride Parade is scheduled to be flagged off from August Kranti Maidaan on Saturday 28 Jan 2012 from 3 pm.


For further details, please visit or feel free to call

Me, Harish Iyer @ 09833100340  or

Praful Baweja   @ 09870213831

Sibi Mathen    @ 09867397744

Q’nema : Film Screening, Project Bolo, Panel Discussion! (a report)


We had a wonderful second day of the pride week on 22 Jan 2012. The event was a film festival – Q’nema. The best of Kashish 2011 films that were screened. Harish Iyer emceed the show and followed up every film screening with discussions on the issue/s each film addressed. The students of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) were very supportive. They themselves volunteered to play parts in the compeering and helping us manage the décor, acoustics,  . The venue was free to us. They weren’t really obliged to offer us their staff to help us in putting up curtains etc, but they did.  And what a classy venue it was, the distance was definitely an issue for some, but who said queer people weren’t there everywhere? Harish explained each film before it was screened and  then discussed the issue that the film addressed with the audience. This ensured that we use cinema as a medium to start a dialogue on issues that we so often hush under the carpet.  Should add, that the audience was wonderful and extremely interactive, which facilitated the free-flowing discussion.

This was followed by the Project Bolo dvd launch  by RJ Rohini from RED FM and Prof Brindelle D’souza  from TISS. Sridhar invited the audience to ask questions and comment about the video from project bolo that we screened,  he also conducted  a small contest where he asked Rohini to choose the best question/comment about project bolo. The winner walked away with a free DVD.

As the sun set, it  was time for a panel discussion on the topic “Media and Society : Out of the Closet” which had Jerry Johnson playing the role of a moderator.
The panel discussion had all the panelists sharing g some thought-provoking personal experiences :

Deborah Grey who calls herself a triple x journo (having worked with 3 channels) She shared that she counter-reacted to her colleagues argument that gays change partners every week with a quirky “woh toh main bhi badalti hu”

Yogesh Pawar, from  DNA, shared about how he had to shun the idea of doing a sting on gay extortion to expose  the police’s devious ways to extort money from loo-cruisers. But he had to drop the idea, as the police guy caught on tape, pleaded that he’d lose his job. Later, Yogesh did an article in DNA about the same guy.

Prof Praveish Vishwanath from Khalsa college, highlighted the uneasy uncalm that still surrounds the classroom when he speaks of homosexuality and indicated that there needs to be a revamp of curriculum for a more inclusive and open sexuality study.

Sridhar Rangayan, shared how difficult he found it to get his point across to the censor board who often are closed to the issue of sexuality.  He explained that it is still difficult.

Harish Iyer, spoke about the fact that we have a lot of preconceived homophobia. Sometimes the world is not bad, we think it is though. He also spoke about the fact that we use media as pawns. “How often have we called media people and told them…. Come for the march, even if you can’t do an article for us its fine”, he asked the audience.

22 Jan was  Jerry’s birthday and he chose to spend it with us moderating the discussion and he did it so wonderfully well.  Happy Birthday Jerry and a Big Thank you.

“Love Is In The Air” pride week special (report)

As a special tribute to the Queer Azaadi Mumbai  Pride week,  a play directed by Kaizad Kotwal & Vishal Asrani, called “Love is in the Air …. somewhere over the rainbow” was staged on 21 & 22 Jan at the Comedy Store, Palladium, Phoenix Mills.

Belting out hits like I will survive, vogue, fever, take a chance on me and Born this way, the cast consisting of Vishaal Asrani, Sarosh Nanavaty and Mansi Multani enthralled one and all, impressing upon us the vocal prowess as well as the brilliance of the divas LGBT community always revered. Icons like Madonna, Gloria Gaynor, ABBA, Sarah Mclaughlin were as though present in the auditorium with their support.

The humour, music and kitschy backdrop of golden shimmer curtain with smiling faces of talented dancers brightened up the evening and also drew applause, whistles and laughters throughout 120 minutes duration of the show.  The choreographer for the show Longines Fernandes (who has choreographed for Slumdog Millionnaire in past) has done a fabulous job with permutations and combinations to show various love equations with all genders and all in between as well.

They pulled in tricks and surprises with audiences – many from our community calling them upon stage, gifting straight couples and flirting with gay singles, effortlessly putting across the message of equal love and life given to each individual, we got more than we bargained for.  Quite literally, all the audience members were urged to shell out donation for QAM, which they obliged us with & we flashed our cute smiles distributing Small little QAM cards asking the audience to join us on 28 Jan.  The makers – Kaizaad Kotwal & Mahabanoo Kotwal were sweet enough to make announcements to support us and also provided us an opportunity to offer final words to the audience to ensure our message reaches everyone. Also, during their show on Sunday, 22 Jan, they invited the hyper enthusiastic QAM team Sibi and Namrata (who were jumping over their seats all through in excitement in this classic play) to speak to the audience about the pride week. This gave us an opportunity to personally extend an invitation to the audience there.  The enthusiastic audience also lightened their wallets and purses to get the QAM donation box to weigh more.

We look forward to having Mahabanoo and Kaizad along with the entire team – Love is in the Air”, join us at the Queer Azaadi Mumbai : Pride March on Saturday 28 Jan 2012.

A classical beginning to a colourful week! (report )


We couldn’t have had a better start to the week full of festive fervour. The Queer Azaadi Mumbai 2012 : Pride Week began with a ‘Colors Of India’ : a classical dance concert at the Amphitheatre of the new Annexe Campus at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar. As the music and dance weaved its spell at the amphitheatre, slowly the crowd started trickling in, and in just a while we were almost a full-house.


Prof. E. Toupou who has been associated with TISS since the past 3 decades and has been instrumental in several socio-environmental initiatives in TISS lit the lamp – an auspicious beginning to the ‘Queer Azaadi Mumbai 2012 : Pride Week’

Details of the Performances:

As a part of the event ‘Colors of India – Through the Eyes of a Dancer’ dance forms like Kathak and Bharatnatyam were presented in innovative and interactive ways by renowned artists.

Bharatnatyam performances were rendered by Nilesh Singha and Amol. Kathak was by Sunil Sunkara and Saurabh Masurkar.

The evening opened with a vandana by Nilesh and Saurabh followed with a piece on Lord Shiva by Nilesh. Sunil performed Teentaal, a Thumri and a Natwari piece followed by Saurabh who continued Teentaal with a technical elaboration. Sunil performed the mesmerising ‘Raag Yaman’ which literally means “one that soothes your mind”. Nilesh once again performed a amazing piece on “Draupadi Vastraharan”. The spirit of true unity and fusion of two dance cultures was displayed in a blend of Kathak and Bharatnatyam in a Tarana

Sarang Bhakre presented a Marathi poetry in through a dramatic act. And Amol had people on feet, cheering with his Bharatnatyam on a bollywood medley.

Sunil performed ‘Sanjini’ a magical piece of foot work by pandit Shri Birju Maharaji followed by a dance on ‘lagi tujse mann ki lagan’.

The best thing about the evening were the explanations before each performance by the artists that gave context to the content that we witnessed.

The evening ended with all the dancers performing to the soul touching poem by Shri Rabindranath Tagore ‘Ekla chalo re’. It was at a this high emotive note at 10 pm, that we called it a day leaving a few members of audience with moist eyes.

And thus we begin with Queer Azaadi Mumbai 2012 : Pride Week

Harish Iyer concluded the event by saying “We respect Indian traditions and customs, and here we begin our Pride Week by showing – how vibrant it is”

Yes. It was vibrant…. And HOW!

Report on ‘Colors of India – Through the Eyes of a Dancer’


The dusk of January 21, Tata Institute of Social Sciences witnessed wonderful and mesmerizing performances of classical dances. Colors of India – Through the Eyes of a Dancer, presented Bharatanatyam by Nilesh Singha and Amol, Kathak by Sunil Sunkara and Saurabh Masurkar, and a dramatic poetic recitation by Sarang Bhakre.

The evening began with a Vandana by Nilesh and Saurabh followed by a piece on Shiva by Nilesh. Sunil performed Teentaal, a Thumri and a Natwari piece followed by Saurabh who continued Teentaal with a few technical elaborations. Next, Sunil performed the mesmerizing ‘Raag Yaman’ with literally means, one that soothes your mind. Nilesh once again performed an amazing piece on Draupadi Vastraharan. The sprit of true unity and fusion of two cultures were displayed in a blend of Kathak and Bharatanatyam in a Tarana. Sarang Bhakre presented a Marathi poetry in one act while Amol had people on their feet, cheering with his Bharatnatyam on Bollywood medley.

Next, Sunil performed ‘Sanjini’, a magical piece of foot work by Pandit Birju Maharaj ji followed by ‘Lagi tuzse man ki lagan’. The evening ended with the recitation of a soul touching poem by Rabindranath Tagore, ‘Ekla chalo re’,  which a few audience members said moved them to tears.

Author: Saurabh Masurkar

Q’ Nema 2012 – The Complete List Of Events


Kashish International Queer Film Festival
Proudly presents

Cinema with a Q. touché!

On the 4th edition of Queer Azaadi March, Mumbai




1. Film Screening
2. Launch of Project Bolo DVDs and screening of films
3. Panel Discussion



Join Us in full house as we celebrate with the best in Indian Queer Cinema!
Q’nema invites you to experience some of the audience’s favorite films of Kashish 2011

***Kusum : The Flower Bud***
Shumona Banerjee tells you the story of a transvestite sex worker and a straight, out-of-job, obsessive, suicidal English literature teacher.

Watch it, to explore if hope be found in the most unusual places!

***In The Closet***

Mathew Menacherry, Miriam Chandy and Menacherry’s short film “In The Closet” is A romantic mid-day tryst – fine wine, red roses, candles and silk. The
excitement mounts until a few truths spill out of the closet.

Watch it and witness beans spilling in less than 6 minutes.
***More Than A Friend***

Debalina Majumder’s short Bengali documentary (subtitled in English) flaunts the growing awareness about same sex relationships. The film is interspersed with real-life interviews of people belonging to various strata of the society.

Watch it! It is a film that presents the multifaceted nature of the debates around the subject.

Ranadeep Bhattacharyya and Judhajit’s “Amen” leaves you with the thought
“Life does not let you choose your parents or your sexuality”

Watch it, as we peep into the life of Harish Iyer, a survivor of child sexual abuse, on whom the film is inspired.



***I am a Woman Too***

V. Ramanathan’s Short Tamil Film – I Am A Woman Too (subtitled in English), peeps into the life of Selvi. Through this story, this film gives the viewer an insight about the conflicts and struggles a transgender goes through at her workplace due to discrimination.
Watch it, to see how one could stand up shoulder-to-shoulder for ‘what you are’ even as you face fierce discrimination.



PART 2: Project Bolo

the Official Launch of the DVD of Project Bolo by the Vibrant and Vivacious Rohini Ramnathan, RJ : RED FM and Ms. Brinelle D’Souza, Faculty : TISS.
please visit for more details.
PART 3: PANEL DISCUSSION on Media and Society: Out of The Closet
The Panelists Include
Praveish Vishwanath
…. he is a professor of mass media and management in Guru Nanak Khalsa College. One of the subjects that he teaches is Understanding Cinema.

it would be nice to see him reflect upon how the academic fraternity takes to Queer Issues.
Deborah Grey
… She is a media person, has worked as a journalist with CNN IBN, Times Now and NEWSx and has covered the queer azaadi pride every year. Now she is a public relations professional and a visiting faculty.

She has strong views about the way media and cinema projects queer people. and you should join us to see what is the point she is making.

Sridhar Rangayan
… He is the founder member of Humsafar trust, the festival director of Kashish International Queer Film Festival and also organises the Flashpoint Film festival for human rights.

He is the architect of the queer cinema movement in India. You should listen to him. It is a treat.

Harish Iyer
… He is an active voice for a number of issues. Discrimination is just one of them. He gets quoted as “gay rights activist”, “child rights activist”, “social activist” in various sections of the media. He is out at work, out to the world. He has films based on his life.

He has a funny side to him and his confidence is something to watch out for.



Jerry Johnson

He is a psychologist. A knowledge warehouse. He understands the Queer Issue and the impact of it on the society very well. A very active voice for the issue.

Jerry Johnson would be moderating the session.



Join us, as we step “Out of the closet” and “into the screen”
At TISS (Tata Institute Of Social Sciences),
On Sunday, 22 January 2012
From 2:00 pm – 7:30pm

for directions and for further details .. contact

Harish Iyer @ 9833100340
Yuda @  9619014378

Want To Participate in QAM2012? Here is how you could!


Knock Knock, 
Who is there?
Support who?
Support Queer Azaadi Mumbai 2012 

‘Queer’ stands for all LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex) as well as for Hijra, Kothi, Panthi individuals. This is a sexual minority group not accepted by Indian society that recognises only two genders and considers only heterosexual relationships valid. Queer Azaadi March is an expression, a voice, a celebration and a platform to ask for equal rights of these individuals conducted in form an annual parade in Mumbai

If you strongly feel like supporting/ attending the Queer Azaadi March in Mumbai on 28 Jan 2012 , but just cant because of unforseen circumstances.

No issues!

You can still support us by uploading a video. All you need is one of these..

Option 1: a camera phone or a webcam.

Just shoot a video with this sample script (or your own version of it) and upload it on private youtube channel and send us the link

“I am (name) from (organisation/City).

i believe that all sexualities and genders have the right to live a life of dignity without any discrimination.

I wish the Queer Azaadi Mumbai – The Queer Pride March of Mumbai great success”

Option 2: Grace one of the events during QAM 2012 Pride Week

Calendar Attached for your reference

Option 3:

please contact

Harish Iyer. @ +919833100340
Praful Baweja @ +919870213831
Sibi Mathen @ +919867397744

These good samaritans would ensure your voices of support are compiled into a press statement (if you wish to) or are shown at an event to the Queer community – so that they feel encouraged and walk with pride on 28 Jan 2012, from August Kranti Maidaan to Girgaum Chowpatty 3 pm to 6 pm

May rainbow colours fill your life with joy!!