Biggest Gay Pride March in India’s History, June 2008

BBC clip:

Its insane when you actually stop and think about how fucked up India still is about homosexuality- you’d think everyone could get over this prudish Victorian wet dream and enjoy the fact of the extreme range of diversity that has been and continues to be an integral part of its history- but nope- if you’re gay, not only do you have to contend with either staying in the closet indefinitely (faking a hetero marriage) or the fact that the basic day to day parts of life can involve people treating you like shit if you’re open about your sexuality (building societies refusing to rent you a place/ families bullying you/trouble with careers etc) but you also have to worry about the fact that the actual act of having sex with the people you desire could result in your being thrown in jail- especially if you come from lower economy communities- and on top of that- having a higher risk of getting AIDS because there are so few healthy scenes where people of these communities can actually practice safe sex- for you heteros out there- imagine a world where every time you felt like bonking- you had to ask yourself whether it was worth getting thrown into jail for it- or dieing of AIDS.

It irritates the hell out of me when I think about how many people I know have led such fucked up lives because of this Nazi bullshit.

For a city of 14 million people, a gathering of a couple of hundred may seem minuscule. But for Delhi’s gay community, the turnout at their first-ever Queer Pride this Sunday was beyond belief. Over 500 marchers carrying rainbow-colored flags and “Queer Dilliwalla” banners marched to bhangra beats, breaking into Bollywood-style pelvic thrusts and bust-heaving from time to time. Starting from Barakhamba Road in the heart of the city’s business district — at which point the media seemed to outnumber the marchers — they walked 2 km to Jantar Mantar, an 18th century astronomical observatory that has become the unlikely hub of sundry protests in India’s capital. Along the way, they were joined by NGO workers and advocates of all causes, droves of tourists and resident expatriates, and a handful of curious onlookers, all shouting “British Law Quit India!” They were evoking the famous slogan from India’s freedom struggle, but referring here to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which was introduced by the British to criminalize sexual acts “against the order of nature.” Perhaps even more unexpectedly, few marchers wore masks — which the organizers had provided for those who haven’t come out — and there were no protests from religious or socially conservative groups. “This is amazing,” said Ranjit Monga, a public relations executive, “No one would’ve believed 10 years ago a gay parade was possible in Delhi.”

for the full story go to Time

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Drag Queen HARISH: The Rajasthani Maharani of the Desert

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When her majesty Queen Harish graced ROTD with her presence in an earlier comment…we felt compelled to invite her to dance…I give you Queen Harish “the whirling dancing desert drag queen”:

Queen Harish is my alter ego – drag is in my blood, and while I am dressed as her I can let loose all my greatest passions, flirtations and wild behavior! I come from Jaisalmer, Rajasthan, the Indian desert, land of colorful men with beautiful moustaches, women with traditional jewelery and children with mystical eyes. I am a professional dancer and performer. Since 1997, i have been touring, dancing in thousands of shows, performances, parties, dance workshops and acting in films worldwide and at home in Rajasthan. I master Rajasthani traditional dances and Bollywood , i also workout bellydancing, flamenco and pantomime. I used to tour with Rajasthani music groups Musafir, Maharaja and you can see me in the film called “Gypsy Caravan”. Since 2003 i freelance as a solo performer and joined several stage projects. I am currently developing a show based on Moghul courtisanship and the traditions of Mujra. Visit my blog : www.queen-harish.blogspot.com

p.s. here are Queen Harish’s tour dates for this year if you happen to be in the area:

Here is my US tour schedule

i have also noted the available dates when someone can invite me

June 20 – 21 – 22 : New Jersey – Indian Weddings – Private

June 25 : NYC – JeBon – guest of http://www.bellyqueen.com/kaeshi_bio.html

June 26 : NYC – Drom – http://www.dromnyc.com

June 27, 28 : Available

June 29 : NYC – Desilicious – postParade event , http://www.sholayevents.com/

June 30 : Available

July 1, 2, 3 : Available

July 5 – 6 : Portales NM – show and workshop http://www.myspace.com/gypsyalanar

July 7, 8, 9 : Available

July 10 – 11 : San Diego – show and workshop with http://www.nomadartz.com and guest of Danyavaad http://www.myspace.com/danyavaad

July 12 : LA – Getty Center – guest dancer of Cheb i Sabbah
http://www.myspace.com/chebisabbahji

July 13 : LA – workshop with http://www.beyondbellydance.com/

July 14 < 19 : Available

July 20 : Seattle – Colombia City Theater – http://www.myspace.com/i_heart_shiva

July 21 : Seattle – workshop with http://colleenashakti.com/

July 23 : San Francisco – Bollyhood – guest dancer of DJ Amar http://www.myspace.com/bansuri

July 24 : Available

July 25 : Available

July 26 : San Francisco – Bollywood workshop at Clandestine

July 26 evening : Available

July 27 : San Francisco – Fat Chance Belly dance Studio, Rajasthani workshop with http://colleenashakti.com/

July 27 evening : Available

July 28 < August 1 : Available

August 2 : Dunedin FL – workshop & show with http://www.myspace.com/beledibay

Gay Indian Prince on Oprah

Manvendra Singh Gohil is a prince from Rajpipla, India who came out as gay and was subsequently disowned by his family.His story attracted international media attention.

Manvendra came out to his family in 2002, but it was only when he talked publicly about his homosexuality in 2006 that his family took action and accused him of bringing dishonor to the unofficial dynasty. The disowning, however, is likely to remain a symbolic act rather than a legally enforceable disinheriting, given India’s modern inheritance laws. He has been reunited with his father and his titles have been restored.

Manvendra is now chairman of the Lakshya Trust, a group dedicated to HIV/AIDS education and prevention. Following Indian convention for putative royals, he is referred to by his given name, Manvendra, not his surnames, Singh Gohil. Although India is a republic and does not recognize the royal status that was conferred prior to 1947, it is still common in India to speak informally of royalty, princes and princesses.[citation needed]

Gohil appeared as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show on October 24, 2007. Gohil was one of three persons featured in the show entitled ‘Gay Around the World’. He expressed that he has no regrets about coming out, and that he believes the people of his state respect him for his leadership in preventing and educating on HIV/AIDS. info from wiki.



You are a Bloody Lesbian!

one of the less queer friendly smut films of B-grade Bollywood fare…involving a sapphic nympho who tries to give titty twisters to her girlfriend who gives her a lecture on heterosexual morality…. “You bloody Bitch! You are a bloody lesbian!”

I can’t embed it so click the link and see it on youtube. YOU ARE A BLOODY LESBIAN!

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J.K. Rowling sues Durga Puja organizers for constructing Harry Potter castle. And Dumbledore is GAY!

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the word…”cheap” comes to mind. I mean, ok so it isn’t exactly legal for these guys to be building a Harry Potter castle but I somehow don’t think she’s quite getting the point of the occasion. She claims that the organizers will be making a profit off of her castle for Durga puja but asking them for 2 million ruppees is a bit ridiculous. A large majority of people who attend these big festivals are from poor communities who aren’t likely to spend much money and so in a large sense the sets constructed are a public service. And in any case, during these festivals people come up with all kinds of weird themes like ganesh sculptures that look like spiderman. If they had to pay some huge royalty fee every time they came up with a cute idea to make the kids happy things wouldn’t be nearly as fun and interesting. It just seems slightly pathetic for one of the richest women in the world to be getting her panties in a twist because some people in India read her book and got a bit inspired. She should be flattered. But I guess she’s spent too much time in America. Her natural reaction is to press charges.

October 12, 2007

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to restrain a Kolkata-based Durga Puja committee from using the statues and images of Harry Potter characters during the nine-day festival.

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, however, made it clear that the court’s order would be applicable till October 26, saying, “any (further) use of these characters will be subject to the prior permission of the author of Harry Potter series, J K Rowling.”

The court also directed the Puja Committee to file an undertaking stating that they would not use any character from the book without permission in future.

The lawsuit filed by Rowling had sought a restraint order from the Court against the puja committee at Salt Lake from using Harry Potter characters in the pandal.

Using the characters without taking due permission was a clear cut violation of Rowling’s intellectual property rights, the suit contended.

The pandal has been designed in a manner which resembles Hogwarts Castle described in the book and displays statues of Potter characters like Hagrid and Hedgewig apart from Potter himself, the suit said.

The counsel, appearing for the Committee, Deepak Nag, submitted that it was a non-profit making society and was using the characters only for charitable purpose. from dna

and on a completely different note…DUMBLEDORE IS GAY!

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Now it all makes sense! I couldn’t figure out why old Dumby would have been so impressed with that prepubescent fascist, Gellert Grindelwald. But then she didn’t spend much time in the book describing how cute he was, did she?

So camp it up with the Hogwarts Rainbow parade in “Its Ok to be gay”

Now I’m waiting to hear whether Chacha Chaudary and Phantom are out of the closet yet…

Abhishek Bachan is voted top Gay Icon

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Recently Abhishek Bachan was voted by a magazine called “Gay Asia” as Mumbai’s sexiest Asian man. The runners up were John Abraham, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Dino Morea, Upen Patel, Arjun Rampal and Saif Ali Khan. Last year’s winner was John Abraham.

In a dominantly homophobic culture its nice to hear how the media climate has begun to change a bit. Although homosexuality is still, technically, illegal in India, a lot of movies have been surfacing in the mainstream over the past ten years that include references to gay identity and culture such as Honeymoon Travels, Life in A Metro, My Brother Nikhil, Page 3, Fire, etc. And of course there was Nishit Saran’s documentary “Summer in my Veins.” Although Abhishek strikes me as being about as hetero as they come, married as he is to Bollywood’s icon for femininity, and being from a family that expounds conservative old-school values of heteronormative familial tradition…Its nice that he didn’t completely wig out and managed to respond to his position as “gay icon” with a degree of respect for the gay community. If anything he just comes accross as slightly bashful.

“I don’t know how to react to this. Any kind of recognition is a blessing. I don’t believe in discriminating against any people. As long as any community loves me for doing what I do on screen, what more can I ask for?Of course I’m flattered and I feel hugely complimented. It’s not everyday that one gets singled out by a very important and sensitive community people. Of course I enjoy the thought of being a gay icon….though let me tell you, I don’t think I deserve it.”

I guess it would be pretty stupid, at this point, for any major actor to indulge in any publically vocal gay-bashing, considering Karan Johar is one of the major players in B-wood. Besides which, some of our top fashion designers, who do a lot of work for big Bollywood names, are invariably gay, and I hear rumours that, like Hollywood of yesteryear (and some claim even today) a lot of the sexiest male actors pose as heterosexual so that they can secure a strong female fan base. Who knows for sure? But the point is, lets hope that greater media visibility will one day lead to a general consesus that making homosexuality illegal is as bizarre as it would be disasterous for India’s film and media industry to exist without the creative imput from its varied sexualities.

Drag Queen Orientalism…the fabulous Arthur Gulkarov

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Orientalism is not dead! It wears sexy lizard costumes and long spikey golden fingernails. I have never seen anything quite like him! This guy has reinvented gay burlesque with a bit of Indian dancing (kathak + Bharatanatyam) and Balinese dancing together with a background in ballet to create something…well…I think “fabulous” is the only word that comes to mind. Check out his website. Its…well…fabulous. www.gulkarov.com He’s a Tajikistani immigrant to the USA and is quite famous for his work as a contortionist and dancer. He’s done a special guest appearance with the Cirque du Soleil in Vegas.

Lizard Queen dance:

Indian “Dream” dance:

God of the Sun dance with long spikey balinese fingernails:

All I can say is that it takes a lot of balls to be able to turn classical Indian and Balinese dance into something that would probably give my old Indian dance teacher a seizure if I showed him the clip! But of all drag queens I’ve ever seen I have got to rate Arthur as the best…because not only does he look hotter than I do with false eyelashes…he’s double jointed and looks good in a tall pointy golden crown.