The Bangalore Pride week was kickstarted on the 19th of November with a Cricket match at Hombegowda Grounds. It wasn’t advertised as much as the other events, hence the turn out wasn’t great. One of the organizers got on the mic and announced “We are gays, lesbians, hijras, kothis, transgenders… we are having a friendly cricket match today as part of pride, will you celebrate with us and play our game?” A bunch of guys who were hanging around on the grounds stayed to play. Three teams were formed in such a way that there were a few queer people on each team. We did not want to make it into a heterosexual vs homosexual event. Once the teams were formed, the team members looked very comfortable and supportive of each other. The game was fun. It was a really positive event.
The next day, an exciting Garage Sale was held. There were books, accessories, clothes, home decorations, DVDs and battery operated sex toys for sale! The Garage Sale was at the ALF(Alternative Law Forum) office and was brilliantly organised. Most of us were expecting just a sale of items, but it turned out to be much more than that. People kept coming to buy things, throughout the day. The team behind the garage sale had also made brownies and cards and yes they were using all manners of persuasion to increase the sales and raise more money. There were impromptu kissing booths set up, which was a big hit among the crowd. We had straight women kissing gay men, gay men kissing lesbian women, straight men kissing gay men. All sorts of combinations. There was a performance too. Yes, an item number. Oh, and a strip tease too. (I would love to give you more details on the item number and what the other sales techniques were, but what happens at the garage sale, stays at the garage sale!) To sum it all up, the Garage Sale was a great addition to the Bangalore Pride week and the team behind it did a wonderful job. They raised roughly about twenty two thousand rupees, which was a significant contribution for the pride march.
I missed the Candle light vigil for the Transgender day of remembrance and the Panel discussion on same-sex marriage. (Psst: Srini was at the panel discussion, but I don’t think he remembers much of what happened because he was a little too busy picking men up.)
Moving on, a fundraiser party was held on the 25th of November, Friday. “Koothnytz” by CouthCulture are themed parties which cater to “kooth” music and dance in Bangalore.
[kooth (couth) (/ku?/) — n. dance form that is traditional to South India, that involves losing oneself to a beat. Usually characterized by complicated and crazily catchy movements. adj. to be cool; to be in.]
Couth Culture was founded by two members of the queer community in May 2011. The parties started as a place where people could be themselves; it wasn’t connected with the Pride March or the Queer community. Then the organizers realized that both events were being held for the same reason — so people could be themselves in the most basic way. The Kooth party was a big hit. It was one of the best pride week parties Bangalore has ever seen. A huge number of people showed up,people got drunk, had fun and danced right till the end. The organizers did a good job and raised around twenty thousand rupees for the pride march.
The Pride Mela or the Diversity Fair, held on the 26th of November simply stepped-up the festive atmosphere. It was held at the Rococo gallery on Rest House road. The Mela featured the best that Queer Bangalore (and beyond) had to offer. The performances which were simply stunning were kicked off with “Forum Theatre” by Sangama. The short play produced by Chennai dost was very well done. Different zones of Samara gave various music and dance performances too.
A beautiful selection of images that were contributed for an international photography competition with the theme “IN PUBLIC” were also displayed. Various informational stalls from Enfold Proactive Health Trust, Chennai Dost, Gaylaxi, Inner Sight, Make a Difference, Sangama, The Slutwalk Campaign, and one about bisexuality were put up. And yes, the merchandise for the pride march was on sale as well. The tarot reading stall drew in the crowd and so did the vegan food stall.
The highlight of the Pride Mela to me was the performance by Pink Divas. Oh and the rainbow colored cupcakes too. Oh and the photo booth. Oops, did I mention the Secret Rose delivery stall? Yes, I got plenty of roses from secret admirers.
The Bangalore Pride March was held on the 27th of November, Sunday. Over a thousand people marched a four kilometer stretch, Queer, Proud and Happy. I can’t write much about the pride march, because any description of it would be too brief or too little. I just have one adjective for the Bangalore Pride March 2011 – AWESOME.