When FSOG first got a direct message on Instagram about a Pride Night (Priday Night Party) that was going to be held in Jaipur, the team was sure that we wanted to cover this story on our website. We got on a call with Randhir Singh who organized the Pride Night in Jaipur. And we were more than excited to have him on-board for this article.
Randhir is a visual designer currently working on his own leather/kink and fashion label. Originally from Lucknow, Randhir moved to Delhi after he finished school to attend university. In 2018, He graduated from the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Delhi and moved to Jaipur to pursue a career in visual merchandising.
Being queer, Randhir says he always had difficulty connecting with people during college. The first time he came out to someone was in his first year of college to someone very close to him. He says, “She is a beautiful lady with a gorgeous soul and our bonds have been stronger after that.”
Let’s hear about the Priday Night Party from the organizer himself.
What made you decide to hold an LGBTQ+ event in Jaipur, specifically? And how did the idea for a party come up?
Jaipur is a smaller capital city but has a great mix of people both locals and tourists both Indian and foreign. Jaipur tends to draw a creative crowd. A friend of mine Samantha (who’s partner owns Club Colaba) and I were talking one night about the lack of LGBTQ+ events in Jaipur and that there is really no platform for our community in, what is generally referred to as, a conservative city. Samantha invited me to host an event at Club Colaba and that was how Pride Night Jaipur was born.
Our first Pride Night Jaipur was in February 2019. The initial few parties were really interesting and lots of fun with Jaipur’s very first drag acts performed by Mademoiselle and Rimi Heart. But the idea of an openly LGBTQ+ party was a lot for people to take in and some nights were hit and some were a miss.
How easy or difficult was it for you to reach out to people to help you organize the event?
It was very challenging to reach to the people of Jaipur and tell the community how important this platform is. How important our voices are! I wanted people to see these parties as a platform in the city where you could be yourself, and break any walls between ‘Straight’ and ‘Gay’ and just have a good time! As we kept the parties consistent we began to reach a wider and more diverse crowd. Interestingly a lot of tourists both Indian and foreign who are interested in seeing what Jaipur’s people have to offer.
What kind of challenges did you face while organizing the event or even during the event?
Drag Queens and GoGo Dancers were not common in Jaipur and I knew that introducing this sort of entertainment to the Pink City of India had to be done with care and we have had a really great response.
As pride night grew we faced some police complaints as well and negative feedback by people who did not support the new culture and I have had people tell me that a city like Jaipur was “not ready” for a night like this. This sort of feedback was disappointing especially when it was coming from inside our community. Another hurdle I faced was towards the beginning of our Pride Nights. Some people were worried about going to a Club like Club Colaba which is frequently in the press for their progressive music and all-around attitude to parties. I reassured party-goers that on our pride night, pictures used in the press will always have the people in the picture’s permission and that our guest’s privacy is important to us.
Samantha and Gaurav (owners of Club Colaba) and their team of hero staff have had great faith in me organizing the event and have given me and the LGBTQ+ community huge support through hosting nights like Pride Night. Of course, not to mention making it financially possible to fly acts from all over India to make sure the night was always fresh. Without them and their honest belief that ‘Love is Love’ none of this would have been possible. Aside from these 2, my major support has been my partner Alexander and our close-knit group of friends who all really push me hard to make these nights successful.
What were the events that lead up to the Pride night party?
Through ongoing support and feedback, we grew and so did the Pride night. We completed our first anniversary on 15th February 2020. There were special acts from Queer danceholics, Wacker Cracker and Lalit Dixit, burning the dance floor. Amazingly (but not surprisingly) this was a full house with an extremely diverse crowd mixing straight, gay, lesbian, local & overseas tourists, with most people having heard that it was the nights 1st birthday and wanted to come along to support and be involved in a great party. This anniversary party I think will be a bit of a turning point for Pride Night because the feedback was overwhelmingly positive and party-goers generally felt that Pride Night at Club Colaba had a much more international feel than other parties they had been to in India. People appreciated it and I was moved by the response.
Do you plan to hold more events like these in the future?
I have been receiving many inquiries for the next Pride Night.
We have featured Zeshaan & Glorius Luna among other artists in the past. These events have opened up people to come out and celebrate Queer identity, inclusiveness and individuality. There has been a rise in the crowd with people traveling from nearby cities to attend the event. I have definitely formed many allies while hosting these events, which develops my sense of confidence. I would want to continue to host such platforms for the LGBTQ+ Jaipur, where anybody can express themselves. Moreover, I look forward to hosting more events in the future where I can explore further and start conversations on issues that can benefit the community.
Describe in one word:
1. Your personality: Sassy & Glamorous
2. LGBTQ+ community: Sensational
3. The Pride Night Jaipur Event: Splendour
4. Jaipur: Pink Hot