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Pride Note

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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)

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

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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

Queer Games 2012 – An Experiential Account

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On January 15, 2012 on Juhu Beach, Mumbai, while at the Queer Games I witnessed something that I shall never forget.  Notwithstanding all the hatred shown by a crackpot harassing us at gay parties and a big bunch of crackpots fighting us at the Supreme Court right now, I realized that there is light of hope at the end of this tunnel. I witnessed that light on the faces of ordinary people who happened to saunter up to watch us sporty folks having fun on a breezy beach on a Pongal evening.

The QAM team did not advertise the fact that this was a queer event when we marked our little space on the beach at 4 pm. We only waved two rainbow flags for other gay folks to locate us on the beach. There were no placards or posters in plain sight. Soon a crowd of beach revellers gathered around to watch. We spoke mostly in English among ourselves and some of those bystanders started asking us if they could participate in the games. We cheerfully allowed them, ofcourse. All participants were asked to pay a nominal entry fee for each game and the collected money will go towards meeting the expenses of the Mumbai Queer Azaadi March on January 28.

Five young men who have, perhaps, seen 22 odd Januarys on this earth walked up, stood behind me and started talking among themselves in some dialect of Hindi I couldn’t easily follow. “Yahan kya ho raha hai?” (What is happening here?), one of them asked me timidly. I turned and told him that we were having a competition of games. He smiled shyly at me showing his dimpled cheeks. He turned to his comrades and relayed the information to them. By and by he again mustered up the courage to ask, “Hum bhi khelen?” (Can we play too?). I encouraged them and they gathered sufficient courage to walk up to Sibi (one of the organizers) and register for the tug-of-war.

That bunch of five won the game and were rewarded with t-shirts. They were pleased as punch. They came grinning from ear to ear to shake hands with me as I stood a little way away, chatting with Vivek Anand. I congratulated them. The games were over and the organizers were packing up. The crowd was starting to disperse. That’s when someone had the idea of sensitizing the crowd about Queer Pride. Harish Iyer stood bravely and talked to the silent bunch about being homosexual and the Queer Azaadi March.  Sachin Awasthi explained to our bunch of five victorious tuggers that this was a “homo” event and that they were welcome to support us by marching alongside on January 28 from Azaad Maidan.

I stood there observing their faces, the setting sun, our rainbow flags fluttering in the slightly chilly sea breeze and the horizon. The crowd was silent. Our victorious five seemed unsure. Would we get a cold response from them? Far away a tiny, insignificant boat seemed stationary on the blue evening waters. Perhaps our onlookers felt as unconnected with us queers as that boat. Perhaps they too would go away over the horizon. Did they know how important Queer Azaadi was to us? Did they care? Perhaps this was just our futile attempt at educating beach revellers.

Harish asked for donations to support the Queer Azaadi March. And a donation box was held up to the crowd. Some moved away. Some stood by staring. And a few extended their hands to put money into the box.

It was then that I witnessed the light of hope in the twilight. Our bunch of five moved closer towards me. The same young man with dimpled cheeks smiled at me and shook my hand again. “Hum aise nahi hain, magar hum march me zaroor ayenge!” (We are not like this but we will certainly come for the march).

It was still a tiny boat far away on the evening waters, but that boat is destined to sail a long way.

Deep

TEST OF PRIDE – QAM 2012 Fundraiser meets homophobia

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Queer Azaadi Mumbai, a collective of LGBT organizations and individuals in Mumbai had organized a fund raiser event which was collecting funds for organizing the QAM Pride walk in Mumbai to be held in Mumbai on 28th January 2012.

The fund raiser event was attended by self identified LGBT individuals and their supporters. The event started around 9:30 pm at a friendly lounge in Oshiwara, Mumbai and was on full swing until the police interrupted the party at 11:45 pm. The police had received a complaint from Mr. Ahmed Sahab Bawa who claimed that he is a prominent member of NCP and the event party was illegal as the necessary permissions were not taken. His vehicle showed sticker of NCP and the name plate mentioned him being the All India President of The All India International Human Rights organization.

The police first began speaking to the venue staff asking for the permission papers, while they were showing the permission slips Mr.Ahmed tried creating a panic by speaking on the phone stating ‘Media ko bulao’. He kept pointing fingers and stated that homosexuality is illegal and the party must be stopped immediately. Mr Ahmed had earlier walked into the party as a regular guest and had taken pictures and videos of the people without their permission in the party and threatened that this will be shared to the media. By this time the party had come to a standstill and the venue organizers announced that the party had to be stopped. Mr. Ahmed threatened that a case will be filed under sec 377 and his political party (NCP) has acquired a stay order against the Delhi high court judgment reading down sec 377. This of course was false information and the organizer brought that to his notice.   Mr. Vivek Anand (CEO, the Humsafar Trust) and Mr. Pallav Patankar (Director, HIV Programs – The Humsafar Trust) who were present at the party tried talking to Mr. Ahmed and the police to resolve the issue. Mr. Ahmed ignored all attempts to clarify the correct legal stand on Section 377 and about permissions for the party. On being addressed about his intention/motive behind the police complaint, he rushed to his car. On seeing that he was escaping the scene after disrupting a legitimate party around 40 party guests blocked his car from leaving the scene.

Police asked the crowd to move to Oshiwara Police station where both the sides would be heard.  Upon reaching, the party organizers and Mr. Vivek, Pallav, Sibi and Praful were made to wait for 1 hour, while Mr. Ahmed was in the station giving his statement. Mr.Ahmed was escorted by the police safely to his car and after which some members from the event party were allowed to give their statements to the police officers. The police assured that all the required permissions were in place and had acted only to verify the matter. The organizers and other members demanded that they wanted to have a face to face with Mr. Ahmed the police assured that he will be called to the station the next day and there can be face to face discussion with him. The media had arrived at the police station where some members of the LGBT community shared their experiences. The queer community is outraged that a fundamentalist like Mr. Ahmed can be allowed to disrupt a perfectly legal event with such ease. The queer community will not take this lying down and is prepared to take necessary legal actions against Mr. Ahmed who claims to be in charge of a Human Rights Organization in Panvel. He is also employed as his facebook profile claims by Islamic Human rights Commission UK. This incident had once again highlighted the importance of the Pride march and we will appeal to the entire LGBT community to come out in large numbers and make Pride Walk 2012 a big success. It’s all about us being ourselves and our right to exist as legal and responsible citizens of the largest democracy in the world.

For More Information Contact

Pallav Patankar : 9619012251

Sibi Mathen : 9867397744

Praful Baweja : 9870213831

Srini: 9833717720

Dirty Talk 2012 (Open Mic)

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You are the star of this evening. Yes, You. And You. You too. Even You. All of You.

We’re giving you an opportunity to star in your very own production. Would you like to dance? Read a little ‘bedtime story’ (wink)? Do your own vajayjay monologue? All of the above at once (we’d like to see you pull THAT off)? Here’s your chance, boys and girls!

Queer Azaadi Mumbai (QAM) in association with Gaysi is excited to announce “Dirty talk 2012″, the second edition of the open mic series.  Everyone is encouraged to submit their work and share their voice.

If you are interested in performing, please read our guidelines and submit 5-7 minutes of work to gaysifamily@gmail.com.  While we would like to see your work before hand, we’re happy to allow a few star stragglers who decide to do some impromptu performances. After all, in true Bollywood fashion, we must accommodate some stars who are known to have star egos and difficulties with deadlines… err… time management.

But jokes apart, while we want to be flexible please do send us your submissions, so we can ensure that you can get your deserved time in the spotlight.

If you are camera-shy and prefer to work behind the scenes, we have roles for you to fill as well. You can be our spotboy star volunteers and help us make this show successful. Just drop us a line at gaysifamily@gmail.com and let us know how you’d like to contribute and we’ll find a way to make your time worthwhile.

Please note that the venue has been provided to us for free and hence the capacity is quite limited. To get the best seats, come as early as you can.

Alright then, chop chop, go on and submit your work and spread the word.

We can’t wait to see you!

Guidelines & submission form can be found here.