HIV Awareness and First LGBT March in Pune a Short Report

FIRST HIV AWARENESS AND First LGBTIH (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, Hijara) PRIDE MARCH in Pune

Date:                                     11th December 2011
Time:                                    From 1.00 am to 11.00 am
Organized by:                  Samapathik Trust, Pune
Organization President:Bindumadhav Khire
Location:                             ‘ Pune Sarvajanik Sabha’, Pune (A historic place in Pune, 150 years old, it was the hub of cultural Pune. It was visited in the past by Lokmanya Tilak, Savarkar and many other thinkers and social-workers.). The wada was recently brought down and rebuilt. The 2nd floor has Pune Sarvajanik Sabha and Samapathik Trust is on the 3rd floor. )
Route:                                   From Pune Sarvajank Sabha -> Laxmi Road -> Bajirao Road -> Shaniwarwada -> past
                                               Dagdusheth Ganpati Mandir -> past Laxmi Road -> Shuruwar peth police chowkey -> Pune Sarvajanik
Police Permission:            Permission received on 7th Dec 2011 for March date 11th Dec 2011 , after prior
                                             negotiations [change in date (original proposed date was 4th dec but was disallowed due to visit by
                                             President); change in route-slight change in route suggested]. Police permission letter received with
                                             wording “HIV Awareness March” although our request letter asked for permission of LGBT Pride March.
Advertising:                       Press, Facebook, email lists and word of mouth
Chief guests:     Darshana Vyas, Director Mukta Projects, Pathfinder International Dr. Devenra Shirole, HOD Dept. Of Psychiatry, Kamla Nehru Hospital (PMC) (One of the Psychiatrists from Pune  who has filed Affidavit in the supreme court to decriminalize gay sex; also ex-president IMA, Maharashtra, ex- president Pune Psychiatrists Association)
Some of the guests present:     
          Sachin Pawar, Pune District Coordinator, MSACS, S. Dhavle (DS, Dist. AIDS Prevention and Control Unit),
          Manisha Gupte, Founder MASUM, Senior Counselors Sunita Wahi, Meghana Marathe,
          Sanyogita Dhumal (CFAR), George Swamy (JPSDP), Shakuntala Khire (Bindumadhav Khire’s mother)
Total Registrations:        92 (NINETY TWO)
Registration counter was manned by Samapathik Trust staff. At the place of registration, a rose, route map, schedule and a water bottle was provided. In addition to Pune LGBT participants, some LGBT participants were from Mumbai who had come for Qfest to Pune.
Some participants were straight who had come as ‘friends in support’.A Donation Box was kept near the registration counter.
 The event started at 10.20am. Bindumadhav Khire welcomed the guests and gave a brief introduction to Samapathik Trust. He introduced the guests and thanked them for coming. He briefly spelled out the objectives of the march.Dr. Devendra Shirole said he was very happy to be present at pride march. He mentioned that Medical Practitioners’ attitudes need to become more understanding and sensitive.Darshana Vyas madam said that she was delighted to lead the march. She said that everyone had the right to live by their own preferences and it is their fundamental right.Darshana Vyas, Dr. Devendra Shirole, Manisha Gupte, TJayrajan, Shakuntala Khire lit the lamp of inauturation.Dr. Devendra Shirole flagged off the march by waving the green flag.Darshana Vyas picked up the rainbow flag and led the march; rest of the pariticpants followed with various plackards.Participants shouted slogans (“I am gay and its ok”, “HAHA HOHO Homophobia has to go”, “nakakaru dujepana samalaingikanna aple mhana”, “nakakaru dujepana hijadyanna aple mhana”, “Condom vapra HIV tala” etc.), waved rainbow flags, banners, and enjoyed the rally.The traffic was well managed by staff members of Samapathik Trust who had adhered to a dress code.The rally lasted 40 minutes and was back at Pune Sarvajanik Sabha at 11.40 am. The pariticpants were served brunch.Reporters took interviews, quotes and photos.
The event was over at 12.30pm.

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