At the back of the temporary stage built on Queer Pride day, Prijith stands looking tense. He looks preoccupied even as he describes to journalists the new programmes they are about to announce after the march ends at Manaveeyam Veedi in Thiruvananthapuram. There would be the launch of an LGBT theatre group, Q Rang, the first in the country, he says. And a self help group called Jwala for the transgender community, Prijith says looking distracted.
The founder of Queerythm, a welfare organisation working for the rights of sexual and gender minorities, Prijith relaxes only when his colleague and member of Social Justice’s transgender cell Syama Prabha comes to tell him that it’s okay, the Museum police would not interfere in the evening programmes. He whistles before smiling again and talking about the green protocol the march has followed. “None of the materials we used are non-biodegradable. The rainbow flags are all made of cotton or cotton-mixed material,” Prijith says, now smiling ear to ear.
He has been quite happy to notice the unexpectedly large number of people who took part in the pride march that began from the University College at half past 5 on Sunday evening. “I was pleasantly surprised to see the turn out. There are people coming from other states – Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and West Bengal – and there are foreigners too,” he says.
This is also the first queer pride in Kerala after the Supreme Court decriminalised section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, an Act from the British era that had criminalised homosexuality. The march proceeded through the busy city roads, not affecting the traffic, participants dancing to the rhythm of the percussion accompanying them, and kissing freely for photographers to take snaps of.
After the launch of Q Rang and Jwala, there would be cultural programmes, inaugurated by Archana Padmini, actor, film society worker and teacher. There would also be a performance by Q Rang, directed by Sreejith Sundaram, and the screening of the docu fiction Birds of Paradise.