Hundreds of LGBT supporters gathered at the Triumph of Labour statue at the Marina Beach yesterday as a part of the Gay Pride March organized in the city of Chennai.
Thanks to the support from the current Government, a large presence of police personnel helped enliven the situation, with more numbers being exchanged than even glances.
Surprisingly, kothis, hijras and eunuchs were in much fewer numbers, and the event was dominated by mask-wearing everyday regular people. “Thank God!” was what the organizers had to say when we asked them about the low turnout of the transgendered. However, there was no down-playing the flamboyant glamor of the event, with every closet queen turning up in their best and brightest, rainbow boas, scarves, frills and more.
Noted mask-designer, Paul, had specially designed face wear for himself and his friends. The masks featured beautifully hand-carved and hand painted motifs, and were bordered by bright pink feathers. When asked where he came up with the idea for the design, he said “I happened on an old and disused pink feather duster at the bottom of my mother’s cleaning cabinet.” Needless to say, the realization (that it wasn’t just the idea that came from that duster, but the materials too) swept everyone away.
The parade saw many of man’s four-legged friends joining the voices of support. Dressed in frills and bright beads, this dog was the center of attention, with the media hounding her through the afternoon. When asked what she thought of the draconian Article 377, she said “Woof! Woof!” When we asked her what she thought of her owner who brought her out on a hot summer afternoon with nary any water or shelter in sight, she said “Woof! Woof!”
A snide remark from one the participants left everyone rolling in laughter: “The bitches are always the center of attraction!”
Interestingly, there were scores of media persons crawling through the crowd, trailing wires, wares, microphones and notepads. Cameramen were seen focusing on areas of special interest, and many found it hard to control their ‘pointed’ interest in the participants. The skilled interviewers asked hard-hitting questions, much like their counterparts on TV. “Are you gay?”, asked one short bespectacled journalist of a frolicking skirted man.
A huge brawl over the free supply of sponsored Red Bull saw queens clawing and sashes shearing, and dreams destroyed, but the organizers down-played the incident. “See how active we are? See how we’re willing to fight for what we believe is ours?”
Tired but excited parade-goers had a lot to say once they arrived at the end of the march, the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of India.
Media-mogul Reuben poses with a happy fan
“I hope Article three-sixty-nine is enforced,” said one exhausted queen who’d appeared to have been in the sun for far too long. “Because I can’t wait to try the legal version!”
“Three-seventy-seven must go,” squealed a feline male rubbing a dark bruise on his hand, “as must the bitch who stole my Red Bull!”
Pictures of the Chennai LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer) Pride March and Parade 1
Pictures of the Chennai LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer) Pride March and Parade 2
Pictures of the Chennai LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer) Pride March and Parade 3
Pictures of the Chennai LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer) Pride March and Parade 4
Pictures of the Chennai LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer) Pride March and Parade 5
Pictures of the Chennai LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer) Pride March and Parade 6