Gandhinagar is set to host its annual LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) Pride March on Sunday, 25 March. The three-kilometer march will start from Satyagraha Chavni in Sector 6 at 9 am and conclude at Suryajot Lake in Sector 1. “We expect at least 1,000 people to be there for the march,” says Kunthu Banthia, a member of the organizing team.
For 26-year-old Kunthu, this will be his first pride parade, and he’s understandably charged up. “In July, we organized a Pride Festival at HK Hall in Ahmedabad and 450 people turned up. So we can expect more than double the number for the pride march, which is resuming again after three years,” he says.
This will be the second time Gujarat’s capital city is organizing an LGBT Pride March. The first Gandhinagar Pride Parade was organized in February 2019, after which there was a lull on account of the pandemic. Baroda had its own Pride March in June this year, while Mumbai and Delhi are preparing to revive their own Pride Parades later this year.
The organizers have been busy roping in volunteers and raising funds for the event. “Our budget is around Rs 50,000 and most of this will go into making decorations and posters and for transportation of the volunteers. We are looking to larger LGBT organizations like Humsafar in Mumbai for support, as well as companies in Gujarat who want to be associated with the LGBT cause,” says Rahul Upadhyay, who was the organizer of the first Gandhinagar Pride March in 2019. They have since moved to Delhi, where they work at Ashoka University, but they will be back in Gandhinagar for the march.
The organizers have already received clearance from the Gandhinagar Collector and now await permission from the Gandhinagar police. “The police department has told us that we will get the clearance a few days before the march, provided there is no major political event in Gandhinagar on that day,” says Kunthu.
In the past, other groups have been known to use the LGBT march to promote their own causes, especially in metro cities like Delhi and Mumbai. How will the Gandhinagar organizers prevent that? “We are cautioning people to desist from raising toxic issues during the march. For many people, this will be their first experience of marching openly as gay or lesbian and we want to keep it positive,” says Rahul.
Worldwide, the LGBT Pride Parade is an outdoor event that celebrates social and self-acceptance. It encourages LGBT people to come out and be who they are, without shame or embarrassment. The event attracts not just Lesbians, Gays, Transgenders, and Bisexuals, but also supporters of the cause. Thousands of people participate in the event in the world’s biggest cities, including public officials and celebrities. The events also serve as demonstrations for legal rights such as same-sex marriage. The parades seek to create community and honor the history of the movement.