Saturday, December 1, 2012

Pride 2012- Media report

For a lack of a report of 2012-

Gay Pride Walk gets lukewarm response in Kerala
Shiba Kurian, TNN | Dec 1, 2012, 12.00AM IST

Despite an amendment in the law, sexual minorities in the state say they are still a traumatised lot

While the LGBT (lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender) community in several metro cities took to the streets to actively participate in the Gay Pride Walk, their counterparts in Kerala had to be satisfied with a small rally in Calicut, that too after a lot of deliberation by activists.

The Gay Pride Walk is conducted in Thrissur every year. However, this year, the members of the community thought of a venue change and planned to organise it in Calicut, which is a more conservative city. Nevertheless, the rally was not a success, if the number of participants is anything to go by.

The brutal murder of an activist two months prior to the rally is the reason cited by the sexual minorities in the state to stay away from the walk. "A queer activist and media professional Anil Sadhanandhan's brutal murder was a big blow to the members of the community," recalls Ajay, manager of a project for the welfare of sexual minorities. The sudden change in location contributed to the non-participation, he says.

"Every year, we have been conducting it in Thrissur, which is more liberal than Calicut," points out Sanjesh, a representative of a sexual minorities' organisation.

Ironically, a state like Kerala, which has the highest literacy rate in the country, is quite backward when it comes to respecting the sexuality of individuals, say members of the community in the state.

Almost three years after the judiciary decriminalised consensual sex among homosexuals, the community members say an underlying insecurity still exist. "The community is looked down upon and even termed as mentally ill, and ostracised by friends and family," says Sunil Menon, a Chennai-based fashion choreographer and a gay community activist.

Sunil recounts an incident of an NRI teenage boy from Chennai who was admitted to a mental asylum when he confessed his sexual orientation to a priest. "After a lot of intervention by activists, the hospital was forced to discharge the boy, who is now totally cut off from society," Sunil says, adding that fighting against such societal pressures, jeers and threats is not easy.

"The sexual minorities reveal their identity and share their problems openly only within the community," says Ajay.

The state has four organisations for the welfare of gays and lesbians, which conduct get-togethers every three months and an annual get together on a south-India level basis, to raise the awareness on HIV and AIDs prevention and to be comfortable being themselves wherever they are. "They also discuss their feelings or share any incidents they have encountered with each other during such gatherings," says Sunil.

Ajay feels the community members, instead of blogging and social networking, should come out in the open if they want public support.

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