Bengaluru Pride and Karnataka Queer Habba is organised by CSMR (Campaign for Sexuality Minorities Rights), which is a coalition of many LGBTQ and allied groups and individuals, mainly based in Bengaluru.
What is Pride?
Pride as an event has a serious origin. It dates back to the early morning of 29th June 1969 when police in New York city raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. They started questioning and humiliating the people in the bar, and even arrested some of them.This sort of harassment had been going on for years, but for the first time that night the people in the bar fought back. Lead by the drag queens (men dressed in women's clothes) the people at Stonewall refused to get bullied in silence. The police responded by beating people savagely, but the crowd refused to go away. More people from the LGBT community came to their support and it became a riot that lasted five days. For the first time the police learned that LGBT people could stand up for their rights.
The Stonewall riot became a symbol of LGBT standing up for their basic human rights. The next year, in June 1970, a march was held in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles to commemorate what happened that night. Over the years, as LGBT people won recognition of their basic human rights the Pride marches became more about celebration. In many countries today Pride is a way of showing how LGBT people live openly and happily in society.
In India today we are closer to where Pride was when it started in 1970. LGBT people face a lot of harassment from the police. Lesbians are subject to violence and even forced to commit suicide by their families. Gay men are blackmailed by organised rackets that involve members of the police. Bisexuals are denied the chance to express same sex love and forced into opposite sex marriages. Transgenders are routinely arrested and raped by the police. Same sex couples who have lived together for years cannot buy a house together, have a joint bank account or will their property to each other without being challenged by their families.
All this is possible because Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code treats LGBT people as criminals. A case currently being heard in the Delhi High Court calls for this law, imposed on us by the British, to be amended so that it no longer applied to consenting adults. This very small change will not remove all problems for LGBT people, but it will be a vital step towards affirming that we are equal and accepted citizens of India. The time has come!