QAM 2012 Fundraiser Party Faces Homophobia – Press Conference at 5 pm Today

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On behalf of QAM, The Humsafar Trust is arranging an urgent press conference at Humsafar Drop In Center, Vakola, Mumbai on January 14 2012 (today) at 5 pm. Please reach out to the press and inform as many of their members as possible.

Please turn up in large numbers! We need your support!

When : January 14, 2012 5 PM onwards

Where: Drop In Center, The Humsafar Trust, Third Floor, Manthan Plaza, Vakola, Santacruz (East), Mumbai.

Say ‘NO’ to homophobia and discrimination!

Queer Azaadi Zindabad!!


Personal account of yesterday’s events by Pallav Patankar:

Dear Qammers

The Gossip Fund Raiser party was held last night in Metro Lounge in Oshiwara. Gossip had a QAM fundraiser wherein every entry contributed Rs.100 towards QAM. The party had revved up enough numbers and people seemed comfortable in the disco area and the terrace above. At 11:45 pm Vivek , and I were about to leave the party when Sibi mentioned that there was an issue downstairs.

As we walked towards the exit we had the venue staff telling us that we could not leave since there were police outside. A guy wearing a pony tail, beard, kohl eyed and wearing a vest was standing there instructing the police to go and check on the party. His name is Haji Ahmed Sahab Bawa (HASB) claiming to be a member of the NCP. He also was showing videos that he had clicked inside the party.  He was threatening the venue staff that he would raise complaints against them and that seemed to have freaked them. There was confusion for some time as to whether we could leave or not. Some of us stood at the gate asking the cops the exact reason why they were present. The cops mentioned that they were checking on the venue’s permissions and seeing if everything was in order. Although the cops were not being very aggressive, HASB was giving directions to the cops as to what they should do.  He kept talking incessantly on the phone shouting “Media ko bulao!”.

Sibi tried to speak to the cops and HASB by mentioning that  we are doing nothing illegal and that section 377 reading down clearly states so. HASB mentioned that his party had ordered a stay in the Supreme Court against reading down of section 377 (factually incorrect). He kept threatening the police and the venue staff.

Vivek and I tried to understand from the police  what exactly the issue was but we were not getting any clear answers. We requested the police that we would like to address the issue at the police station and understand the reason why the party was being stopped. They mentioned that they were from Oshiwara Police Station. We ensured that all party goers be safely allowed to leave the venue and police co-operated. As we walked out there was a huge crowd that had collected on the street outside. HASB came out and I yelled out to him that we wanted to see him in the police station and understand his issues. He did not hear me and ran towards the car as I ran behind him yelling at him to come to Oshiwara Police station. He was accompanied by a guy who held me and pushed me away, I asked him if he was police, since he was in plainclothes. I told him that he had no proof that he was the police. He pushed me away again. I told him that he had no business touching me. The guy dashed along with HASB to the car and said that they were going to the police station. I told him that I did not believe that he is going to the police station and what if he got away. I went close to his car and started taking pics of HASB. By this time a crowd of 10-15 from the party had collected and had surrounded HASB’s car and refused to let him drive away. We took more pictures.  We finally let him drive away when we were assured by the uniformed police that the guy with him in the car was a policeman.

We went to the Oshiwara police station and saw HASB’s car waiting outside.  A crowd 30 people  from the party of collected outside Oshiwara Police station. Vivek, Praful, Sibi and I were allowed inside to talk to the police station. It was a long wait. HASB sat with the police inspector, Shirsat of Oshiwara police station and gave his complaint in writing. While HASB was with the police, the policeman in plainclothes got into an argument with us. He said that he would make an official complaint that he was attacked by the party goers. We calmed him down and explained that we were all homosexual men and we saw nothing wrong with that. We have a Pride March on the 28th which has valid police permissions and we are only fundraising for it. After that he calmed down and said that he was on duty and we were free to present our point of view to the police inspector. Then the police discussed the issue with the Gossip venue manager and asked him to “kill the issue”. The manager was extremely worried about his venue being in trouble and did not wish to make a big issue about the incident. He kept on asking us to back out. We refused saying that it was not about the venue but an issue about our identities being attacked, and that due care would be taken that the venue did not face any problems. We insisted that we speak to Inspector Shirsath. Sibi, Vivek and I presented ourselves at Shirsat’s table and discussed the issue. Shirsat mentioned that he had no problems with the party and there is no illegality with being gay. He quoted HASB and mentioned that he had asked HASB to produce documentary evidence that says that gay parties are illegal. Shirsath mentioned that ideally when a party is being organized there needs to be an intimation to the local police station about the party, they did not have it and hence they were obliged to act on a complaint by HASB. On the whole Shisrath was very cordial and apologized if on behalf of his police team there was any inconvenience caused to anyone.

Shirsath mentioned that there would be a meeting in Oshiwara Police station on Saturday along with HASB and someone, either Vivek or me maybe, called to present our point of view. HASB has filed an NC of damage to his car.

We asked Shirsath how we could file a complaint against HASB. Shirsath replied that he would give us his details and we could do the needful.

Outside the crowds were on the street till 2:30 am. We went out and apprised them of our conversations with the police. Mid Day and Times Now Reporters were outside for the story and the crowd of 30 faced the cameras to say that we were fundraising here and we were not scared anymore. We will fight this harassment and ensure that QAM 2012 is a success!

Back at Vivek’s house I could not sleep until I had typed this out.

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18 responses »

  1. I say, you are doing something right. Fundamentalists and phobes are smoked out when human rights and queer pride starts doing something significant. I look at this as a stepping stone in the fight for queer pride in India.

    Looking forward to the press conference and the reactions.

    Anand

    PS: On that note, when is the next fundraiser and am really relieved no one was physically injured

  2. Pallav, Vivek, Harish and everyone who’ve stood up to these oppressors, thank you for the inspiration and empowerment. I really thank you from the bottom of my soul – This course of events has been affecting me deeply and I am reconsidering my stance on the the course of events here in Pune. Thank you so much! I wish you’ll all the strength you’ll need to get through this.

    • awww. … i loveth thee aphia.

      i know id sound modest…
      harish just tweeted and media slutted. …

      the credit goes to Sibi… and pallav and vivek and praful… and all those people at the party.. who gave the guy a takkar!!! seena taan ke!

  3. Bunch of people advocating the spread of the disease of homosexuality !!!…India is one step closer to utter moral degeneration…

    We Indians should rally behind people who are attempting to uproot this infectious disease of ‘gay/lesbian’ rights from the grassroots level…

    I am against these morally depraved advocates of homosexual liberty…

    • Alex you are the one who happens to be morally depraved. Your depravity does not allow you to accept human beings who are different from you. You are obviously so immoral that you don’t desire equality and liberty for all Indians.

      Alex, you and your kind of bigots, need to look into modern medical literature by performing a basic search on the Net and discover that ICD (World Health Organization – International Classification of Diseases) and DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) have long since abolished the outdated and unscientific view of classifying homosexuality as a disease or an anomaly.

      Homosexuality has been part of humankind since the beginning of time. Ancient Indian texts, like Kamasutra, have documented homosexual practices and have accepted it as a part of life.

    • Moral Degradation. Disease.

      darling alex, you need education. your knowledge is limited. read up and you would know that homosexuality is not a disease, we are at complete ease with our sexuality.

      and we Spread the ‘disease’… welll, is this like common cold or ring worm, that we hug someone and they get it?

      you know what darling, i have hugged so many heterosexual people. and yet not got the Heterosexual Virus.

      • Alex Alex Alex…
        Spreading disease means that you feel like you are affected by it,
        Are you by any Chance scared of your Sexual orientation ?
        Are you scared of knowing that the things you hate the most is in you ?

    • You Alex need ” THE LIGHT” and we need to uproot infectious thoughts like YOURS from GRASS ROOT LEVEL! You are the biggest loser! i feel sorry for you!

      get educated, if you want i can help you learn a thing that we ARE NORMAL BUNCH

      xx

      • Oh, come on. the guy is a troll, either delete the comment or ignore. people who have made up their minds and will not be confused by facts are best ignored. We have better things to do with our time. Also, calling him a moron and a disease just gives him what he wants. I believe he has the right to express what he feels, and this platform has the right to delete such comments.

        PS this is abt Alex

        Anand

      • We need to keep homophobic comments on this blog as also the responses that these comments deserve. Alex will read our responses and maybe, just maybe, change the way he thinks. But we definitely need to show other homophobes that we mean business.

    • Dear Alex,
      Hope, the things are not quoted from Bible or the basis are not religious when you quote, ‘Homosexuality is a disease, and Indians are attempting to uproot the infectious disease’. There are human beings as the stepping stone of the civilization, which the LORD has created, without any bias, without any kind of discrimination, without any kind of differences, which we as humans are creating….

      My mother never said to me that I am a disease for her, and she will be infected by my attitude, my behavior, my hormones, my skin or anything else, nor the people around me has done so. Why people like you are trying to create bias in the society with the narrow minded mentality saying it as a disease… How the hell it has become disease, when we are naturally like this and not by choice. Choice has been chosen by many hypocrites in the society like you, when they exploit the sexual fantasies of you, by using men, when satisfaction doesnt come from women, or when women is not around, in terms of sexual abuse.

      As a human being, we have got a right to breathe, to live, to laugh, and to enjoy our life as we want, just like any other individual does… (We are individuals first, and homosexuals afterwards….. so do not ever think of the cheap thing as we spread disease)

    • Alex, if you are out looking to cure people, could you please help us in treating you of your homophobia first please? Will the country and the world a much better place to live in without all this hatred for fellow human beings!!!!

    • ahemm.. Dear Alex!
      We indians are are already rallying where we want to rally.. and it’s not on the side you’re on!

      The biggest infectious disease causing our moral degeneration these days is intolerance, hate and the violence emerging from it.. STOP HATING PEOPLE FOR LOVING EACH OTHER.

      Sincerely,
      Morally upright and highgrounded indian!

    • Aww Dear Alex,
      I feel for you…
      Pardon me, but are you a learned doctor or a pshychiatrist to use the word “disease”?
      You seem really interested in homosexuality, why dont you read about it on the Internet or on the wikipedia. Atleast you can make educated comments, don’t you think?

      Anyway, you have no “right” to curb the right of any fellow Indian, unless you work hard and become the dictator of India.

      Why are you even reading this blog? 😛

      Regards and love (i dont “hate”),
      Sarang

  4. Pingback: A Month of Pride and Party Pooping | Gaysi

  5. I don’t understand why morals keep getting dragged into such debates. Morality dies a long time back, right when God died. I believe the ones still fussing about it are the ones who need to liberate their pea-sized brains,to seek emancipation. Usually people who object are just some seriously very scared people, too comfortable in their pathetic existence. Afraid of bringing the bedroom talks into the living rooms, they call it blasphemous.

  6. I came across this horrible story on the news exactly a day after I watched a powerful and deeply moving movie about racial discrimination in the American South in the ’60’s.. issues of overcoming long standing barriers in customs / laws and so forth..

    And I cannot help but see the obvious [and heart breaking] parallels in the struggle of the GLBT community / discrimination faced and so forth in India [indeed the world] and racial discrimination / struggles.. I truly believe, and have believed for a long time [being fully aware that comparisons / generalizations such as these are by their very nature, potentially problematic] that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is “the racism / casteism / classism of our times”.. And I rage about this often.. in discussions with family / friends and so forth.. sometimes on facebook and such.. But I never have managed to translate this outrage into action.. It isn’t due to lack of potentially valuable skills.. I am a lawyer and presume my skill sets [albeit limited ;-P] could surely be put to use in *some* way.. And yet I never have attempted to..

    And here lies a large part of the problem.. A lot of straights such as myself feel outraged when we see / hear stories such as this one.. they happen so often and with such shameful regularity, how can we not? .. And yet we do nothing.. We don’t actively involve / engage.. So today I promise myself that I will not remain silent.. I will get involved.. Because I do not want to tolerate a world where hate is tolerated, and difference is shunned instead of being celebrated.. I will march at this year’s Pride March.. And I offer here to volunteer my time / “skills” / anything I can to make it get better .. And I finish faux dramatically ;-PP .. with Niemoller’s famous quote:

    “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out —
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”

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