With arts and films, Delhi’s gay celebrate Nigah Queer FestAugust 10th, 2008 - 8:16 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) With roses in their hands and banners voicing their angst against the law which makes homosexuality a crime in India, Delhi’s gay community will celebrate the 16th anniversary of its first public protest Monday. Coming a month after the city’s first gay parade, which was a huge success attracting more than 500 people, the celebration will be part of a 10-day art-film-photography festival, which culminates Aug 17.
The Nigah Queer Fest, as the festival is called, is in its second year and, as activist Gautam Bhan puts it, is “bigger and better” than last year.
“We had so many entries from around the world for the film screening section that we didn’t know which to reject,” Bhan told IANS.
Skimming through the entries, the organisers finally zeroed in on 47 films which have been screened over the weekend. And the films, in languages varying from Spanish and German to English and Tamil, are as varied culturally as they can be, but with a common message.
One of the films, “Jihad for love”, is a daring documentary filmed in 12 countries and in nine languages. The film explores the complex global intersections between Islam and homosexuality.
Then there is an art festival showing a variety of moods of the queer community. Panel discussions on topics such as Visualising Sexuality and performance nights, throwing open ideas on how to use creative mediums like arts or photography to express one’s sexuality, are also part of the parcel.
Monday, however, will be even more special for the community since it is on this day 16 years ago that the city saw the first queer protest out in the open.
Gay rights activists, human rights activists and those working on issues of HIV/AIDS led the protest against police arrests of several gay men walking in the open in the Central Park in Connaught Place in the heart of Delhi.
“It was our Stonewall,” said Bhan, referring to the a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations against a police raid that took place in the early morning of June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in New York City.
The protest marked the first instance in American history when gays and lesbians came out against a government-sponsored system that persecuted homosexuals, and it has become the seminal event marking the gay rights movement in the US and around the world.
“On this day we will have panel discussions and remember our historical past and have talks,” Bhan added.