LGBTQIA members organise a free hug activity in Kanpur
The Supreme Court might have had decriminalised homosexuality almost a year back but this was the very first time when the members of LGBTQIA community in Kanpur came out in the open. The members of the community organised a free hug activity in the Swaroop Nagar area recently. Though only around more than a dozen members of the community were present during the activity, what made them happy was the social acceptance that they got from the people.
Take for example the case of 38-year-old Amolak Singh, who had no reservations in coming out openly about his sexual preferences in an event like this. “Things are definitely changing when it comes to our community. People in my circle knew that I am a homosexual but this was the first time when I openly stood at one of the busiest crossroads of Kanpur holding a placard which read ‘I am gay can you hug me?’” says, Amolak Singh, who used to earlier work as an HR manager with a BPO in Kanpur and now wants to be a makeup artist. Amolak further adds, “After attending the Pride Parades and other LGBTQIA activities in Lucknow and Delhi, my friends and I, from the same community, decided to start similar activities in Kanpur.”
Amolak further adds, “The apex court may have decriminalised homosexuality but majorly it is still seen as a taboo in our society. This is why, just to break the ice, we started a free hug activity on October 2.”
Ishan Khan, a 19-year old psychology student, who too excitedly participated in the free hug activity representing the community, says, “Actually, free hug activity organised by us was a part of an experiment. With this activity we wanted to check our social acceptance in Kanpur. I am happy to say that the result of our activity was outstanding. Kanpurites not only noticed us, a lot of them came to us and gave us hugs. They were comfortable with our status. During the activity they also asked many questions. Though it was the first time when we had an activity in Kanpur openly, the response of Kanpurites was cool towards us. They also clicked selfies with us, which shows that they have an acceptance towards us.”
However, Anuj Pandey, a student and a member of LGBTQIA community in Kanpur feels that the city has a long way to go when it comes to organising such events is concerned. “In cities like Delhi, Lucknow and Bhopal, a lot of such activities are taking place but not much has happened in Kanpur. Even though we have tried to organise this free hug event today, which saw a limited footfall from the members of our community, this is just a start. We now plan to soon host a flashmob in Kanpur to create awareness and sensitise people about our community. Plus, we also plan to organise gay parties here,” said Anuj.
The members of LGBTQIA community not just believe in organising events in Kanpur in fact they also have plans to give an official shape to their community. “Since homosexuality is decriminalised in India, we have decided to get our community registered under the title of ‘Sashakt Udaan Foundation’. This foundation will not only organise such events in the city but will also create awareness in society about our community. The foundation will also ensure that our rights are well protected in future,” says Mohammad Hamza, who is works in the healthcare industry.
And the community now plans
In order to maximise their reach Kanpur’s LGBTQIA community, the members also plan to invite people belonging to their community from other cities as well. “Not all cities in our country are having LGBTQIA communities in existence. In fact, a lot of people lead a secluded and a suffocated life in these towns, who are unable to come out of the closet. This is why we have decided that we would also welcome people belonging to our community from other towns. This time too, we had two people coming all the way from Sultanpur to participate in the free hug activity,” says, Abhiraj Singh, an engineering student and an active member of the community in Kanpur.