Queer Azaadi March Announcement

August 8, 2009

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Were you part of the Queer Azadi March (QAM) last year and want to take part again this year? Or will this be your first time? Well, now its almost time! In less than 10 days for the second QAM which will take place on Sunday 16th August !

All police permissions are in. The march will take place from 3 to 6 pm. Like last year we will start from August Kranti Maidan at Gowalia Tank, from where Gandhi gave his call for the British to Quit India, and we will march through Nana Chowk to Opera House and to Girgaum Chowpatty – but where last year’s march ended there, many organisers felt this was too short for all the enthusiasm, so we sought and were granted permissions to march back to August Kranti Maidan via Hughes Rd – Westside – Gamdevi Police St. Final confirmed route will be posted.

Plans for the march are in full swing! Thanks to the efforts of groups like Humsafar there will be an exceptional level of participation from community organisations. And thanks to the success of last year’s march, and the enthusiasm created by the Delhi High Court verdict, a lot of people are coming for the march from other parts of India and even abroad. Celebrities like Celina Jaitley and Milind Soman will probably be there. Its going to be a blast!

But while we hope everyone has fun, there is also a serious reason for marching. We have won a big victory in the Delhi High Court, but it is being fiercely challenged in the Supreme Court. We need to call with all our effort on the honourable judges of the Supreme Court and the government to respect the verdict of the Delhi High Court and to let freedom stand for the queer community across India. Last year’s march was to call for azaadi, this year’s march is for it to stay.

So please start making your plans to be there. We’re also very happy to get offers for help, so let us know if there’s anything you’d like to do. In the next few days groups will be organising preparatory events. GB’s meeting this coming Sunday, 9/9 will be on Planning for Pride. The Humsafar centre will be hosting three days of poster making on 7th, 9th and 14th August (details below) and the LABIA group will be having a poster-making session on 15th August at the Awaaz-e-Niswaan offices in Kurla West where we have been having our meetings. Address and directions in meeting announcement posts below. You are welcome to take part in any or all of these!
Apart from these events there are also lots of other ways you can get involved. For example, you could help just by persuading friends and relatives to come – we are VERY keen on extending this march beyond just the queer community to show that this is a human rights issue for all. Or by offering to host some of the many people who will be coming for the march. You can also get involved in making posters and banners. The march will welcome individual initiatives (as long as one respects the overall march) so please feel free to get creative.
Despite the Delhi High Court victory we do realise that many people will still be wary of marching openly. We respect these concerns and have accomodated them, like last year, by making lovely, colourful masks available for free at the venue (just come a bit early to make sure you get one). Apart from this there’s the fact that, as I mentioned in the previous paragraph, we have deliberately broadbased the march to make one not just for queer people, but for anyone interested in basic human rights issues.
A lot of mainstream supporters will be coming, so if it is a concern, please be assured that being seen at the march will not necessarily label you as queer – but it might label you as someone who believes in human rights for all!

See you at the march!

Queer Azaadi Mumbai


Queer Azaadi Film Screening 31 July Alliance Francaise

July 21, 2009

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‘We won. We are legal’
On 2nd July 2009, the LGTBI community has been decriminalised by the High Court decision in Delhi which read down Section 377 of the IPC. It is the achievement of a long term struggle which opens a new era of freedom for sexual minorities in India.

This milestone judgement, which gave us recognition, opens the doors towards inclusiveness, social and cultural acceptance and further gains in areas of civil, political and human rights.

‘There is a long road ahead to end discrimination, to ensure equal rights and the ability to exercise them are in place’, states Sunil Gupta, a Delhi based photographer and openly gay man.

The spirits are high and with this first stunning achievement, we are full of hope that many more victories are to come.

The film program takes us to different parts of the world and attempts to look at the queer individual and the LGTBI community in society and society’s gaze back. Glancing at this reflected image, the question that manifests asks – is it enough that a society only protects us with a set of rights or do we also need the freedom to act as who we are within that society. Legal recognition and human rights are very important but social acceptance is equally, if not more, crucial.

These films will extend this essential idea of acceptance to include our sexuality, our gender presentation, our choice of sex work as livelihood, and how we love.

After each film there will be an informal discussion to share points of view amongst the audience.

This film program is a teaser to relish before the Queer Azaadi Mumbai March on 16thAugust, which kicks off at August Kranti Maidan in which we will celebrate diversity and proudly state ‘hum sab ek hai’.

The Queer Azaadi March (QAM) is the collective result of several of Mumbai’s very own LGBTI individuals and organizations. This is our home, and QAM is our march together for the freedom of expression of our sexual identities and pride in being ourselves. QAM ’09 looks forward marching together with our family, friend, supporters and the people of our much loved city toward a better future for Mumbai’s queers, for acceptance, tolerance and understanding of our lives and personalities.

For more information on on the QAM March visit the blog at http://queerazaadi.wordpress.com

We would like to thank all the artists, producers and distributors for giving us their oeuvres free of cost. We are also thankful to the Alliance Française de Bombay for giving us their auditorium and screening facilities. Without this generosity we wouldn’t have been able to bring you these films.

Friday 31st July 2009 @ 6.30 pm
Alliance Française de Bombay40 Theosophy HallMarine Lines, Mumbai, Maharashtra 40002


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