The city’s first-ever Pride Parade by the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community scheduled to be held on Sunday evening could not take place after the organisers were denied permission by the police.
According to the supporters, the permission was rejected at the last minute by the police officials citing ‘perceived threat’ and security issues, despite getting a verbal assurance from them.
“This only goes on to show how less we are sensitised to the issues of the sexual minority. The right to a peaceful march should not be taken away from anyone,” Aditya Ravi, who works with the Centre for Advocacy and Research, told The Hindu. “Vizag is the biggest city in the State and this event would have given many closeted LGBT members living here a platform to get their collective voices be heard. It is very unfortunate that the platform was demolished. Marches like these increase the visibility of sexual minorities. They have an opportunity to express their needs and rights and be acknowledged by a larger public. This eventually will lead to tolerance and acceptance,” he added.
Stating that sexual minority rights were human rights issues, Rahul Naidu, a part of the city-based Aadhar LGBT NGO, said that it was due to sheer ignorance of the officials that the event could not take place. Ayaan Syed, who is one of the organisers of the Bangalore Pride Parade, said that every year the Vizag Pride Parade would be held in July from henceforth.
“This is not going to stop us from making our voices be heard. We will come back next year and show society that LGBT exists and we are as much a part of society as the others,” he added.
However, a small informal gathering was held opposite Hotel Novotel, at the Beach Road wherein social activists, supporters and members of LGBT community released balloons and expressed their disappointment at being denied their right to carry out a ‘peaceful march’.