Today, the stretch of roads between August Kranti Maidan and Girgaon Chowpatty came alive with slogans, the colours of the rainbow, and a whole lot of love. The annual Mumbai Queer Azaadi Pride March was held on January 28, and the crowd that walked in it managed to halt traffic and celebrate being LGBTQ, all whilst being peaceful yet assertive. The slogans and signs were aimed at bringing down Section 377 and fighting homophobia.


The stage at August Kranti Maidan.

Harish Iyer

Harish Iyer, a prominent face of the LGBTQ community in India and the pride march. “Why just a picture! Let’s take a selfie too,” he said, with a smile.


Speeches being made before the march could begin.

20170128_152528 final

Roshni, who is an absolute diva, has been attending the Mumbai pride march every year.

20170128_153616 final

Dressing up, desi style.

20170128_160751 final

“So, when did your son come out to you?”

“Actually, I came out to him. And he always had an inkling.”

20170128_152732 final

Akshay hopes that he will win this year’s edition of Mr Gay India!

20170128_155554 final

The pride march had a significant number of foreigners who participated too.

20170128_155900 final

“Do you mind disclosing your name?”

“Umm, I’m not sure. Actually, okay. Actually, let it be.”

20170128_155434 final

Dr. Sam of the NGO called Impulse distributes condoms with the name ‘Love’. “The idea is to promote the importance of safe sex, and love!”

20170128_154332 final

Soumit, dressed in a white and gold outfit, complete with wings, poses with a flag of The Hamsafar Trust.

20170128_154751 final

Meet Shvetlana, who was shy, giggly, and flattered – all at the same time.

IMG_20170128_162522 final

This bunch yelled the most goose bump-raising slogans. “Ghar ke andar aazaadi, ghar ke baahar aazaadi, sex karne ki aazaadi, sex nahi karne ki aazaadi.”

They addressed these slogans to a policeman standing closeby. He looked at them, and couldn’t help but smile.

But they were also pretty fabulous, and invited me to do a jig with them. “Pyaar se lenge aazaadi, keh ke lenge aazaadi, thumak ke lenge aazaadi!


Most people – men and women – ended up wearing the flags in their buns.

IMG_20170128_163745 final

I couldn’t help but notice how happy everyone was. There was a fiery rage in the sloganeering, but once the Nashik dhol began playing, everyone broke into a dance.

IMG_20170128_163956 final

Carrying the flag was a surreal experience.

20170128_155119 final

Not just a phase, not “a choice”. It’s a sexual orientation, not a curse. #TakeDownSection377.

My favourite moment was when I overheard someone say this during the march:

“This is a country that won’t strike down Section 377. It is also a country where pride marches are held. I don’t understand this country anymore.”