EVENT Chennai’s LGBT community and its supporters came out in full force to voice their choice. PAROMITA PAIN
One hot afternoon Chennai proved that while the city might be mostly straight it certainly wasn’t narrow. There was a rainbow on the Marina beach at 4:00 p.m. last sunday. It was a rainbow with a difference. It wasn’t a rainbow as we know them but was an interesting one all the same.
The Chennai Vanavil Perani 2009 (Chennai Rainbow Pride 2009) that braved the hot sun and marched along voicing concerns and rights that have been denied to them for years was a colourful troupe. And as the Pride Marches in Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkatta show the thunder might get stolen by the flamboyance of the transgenders but the point always is made. Section 377, as we know it, has to go, and recognition given to the LGBT community for what they are. Inspired by the words of Tamil poet Subramanya Bharathi, “Hues may vary, but humanity does not”, Chennai’s march also celebrated our essential humanity, across differences of sexual orientation and gender identity.Pride marches mean different things to different people. For some this is a first time walk in *the open’ albeit masked. “I am not sure yet”, said Aravindan, 24, “that is what I really will feel for a lifetime.” For others this is the time to show solidarity for a loved family member. That’s why one supportive sister held up her placard, “Proud sister of a gay” with such fierce pride.
Friends and more
For friends who have stood by the rough coming out or the secret years, this was an occasion to walk the talk and celebrate friends whose different sexual leanings has only added more colour and meaning to life. The rally had over 200 people and as Asma, a supporter, said, “There are more heterosexual people than members of the LGBT population and I think that’s significant.” While it was easy to get distracted by the protest songs of the young, Many parents too were seen, albeit quieter but firm in their support. “I didn’t really understand what my son meant when he said he is gay but I am in counselling” said one parent. The police too were supportive in their own way. Reactions ranged from wry acceptance to humorous quips regarding “things people do”. Though permission for drums, loudspeakers and walking along the main road wasn’t given, the parade didn’t suffer for having to march through the service lane. Cars, impatient bikers and a few walkers stared and hooted impatiently but the point was made. Being a part of the LGBT community doesn’t set anyone apart so there is no room for discrimination. After all, is sexuality rather like the person you love really a matter of choice?
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