Queer Azaadi March Announcement

August 8, 2009

qam logoqam logo

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


Protest against Mumbai Mirror – coverage of TISS student rape case

April 20, 2009

TISS Student Rape and Mumbai Mirror Coverage

A student of TISS in Bombay was raped. The media coverage, especially in the Mumbai Mirror, was horrific. Sticking only to the least possible letter of the law and in complete violation of the spirit of the law to protect the identity of the woman who was raped, Mumbai Mirror not only gave every single little detail of information about her which made her immediately identifiable to anyone on or around the TISS campus, or who knows her from outside the campus, they printed, in total, her statement to the police given at the time of registering the FIR (first information report). Yes, FIR is a public document so in theory, no law as such was broken. However, it broadcast across Bombay to all its readers, each personal detail of her ordeal.

A loud angry demonstration was held at the portico of the Times of India Buulding, the publishers of Mumbai Mirror. Below is a video of the event.

(video shot and edited by Tejal Shah)

This protest was not covered in Bombay English language papers. We hear it was covered well in Lok Satta. It was covered in an informative and responsible manner in The Hindu, from Chennai, here

This woman was violated and then again violated by the media. It takes courage to report a rape because its a long and excruciating process to go through the trial. To have the media expose her identity in all but name, strips her of any private space and anonymity in the world to start the healing process. Other women, seeing this public exposure, will not have the courage to come forward if they ever are in the same situation. This act on the part of the Mumbai Mirror (and other papers but Mumbai Mirror was the most egregious) creates an unsafe space for women to seek justice and claim back their agency after such a violent violation to their personhood.

See here for coverage in The Hoot

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