The Queer Azaadi Mumbai Parade 2013, Mumbai’s version of the pride march, saw participants walk confidently without any masks to conceal their identity. In its fifth year, the pride march with over 300 people marched from August Kranti Maidan passing through Nana Chowk, Grant Road Station and back to the starting point.
Sarcastic and funny banners, extravagant costumes and the’ dhol nagada gave a vibrant and energetic touch to the proceedings of the pride parade.
The LGBT participants in Mumbai, like their counterparts from all over the world, marched in the open for their rights. The issue might sound serious but the queer community let their hair down and celebrated their existence with great fanfare in the city.
View our photo-feature here: Pictures: Mumbai's queer pride 2013
One of the participants of the parade was a 61-year-old mother, a regular attendee. She marched along with her family in solidarity with her 33-year-old gay son. Her son is settled in Atlanta and married to a man.
Another participant in the parade was Ash, a 23-year-old gay man dressed up in a princess costume. Ash, after being teased incessantly by other men, decided to come out in the open and celebrate his identity as he said he had nothing to hide.
More than 20 NGOs supported the Queer Azadi Mumbai parade. One of them was GHAR (gay housing assistance resource) that provides accommodation for LGBT. Sachin Jain, one of their representatives of the organisation, said that queer people often find it tough to rent a place in the city because of homophobia, hence GHAR offers them a place to stay with other LGBT people.
Actress Sambhavna Seth was one of the celebrities who graced the occasion and has been doing so every year.
The march this year was predominantly young with many of participants using this as a platform to come out in the open for the first time to join their queer brothers and sisters in a celebration of their identity and to mark their unique presence in society.