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Chennai and Shanghai stage fourth Pride celebrations

BY NATASHA BARSOTTI – As part of its fourth Pride festival, Chennai (formerly Madras in southern India) is shining a spotlight on a long-awaited Supreme Court ruling that will hopefully uphold a 2009 decision to decriminalize consensual gay sex.

Organizers say the decision could be handed down at any time but hope it'll coincide with the city's Pride celebrations, Gay Star News reports. 

Festival highlights include a Pride march on June 24, which is expected to draw between 500 and 600 people, and an LGBT day of remembrance on June 30. Organizers and participants are also looking forward to a plethora of films — 28 screenings from 10 countries over three days — as opposed to the usual two or three, according to Gay Star News, which did a Q&A with one of the Chennai Pride organizers. The interview focused on such issues as balancing corporate and community participation in the festival, the history of trans visibility in the culture, the importance of film in increasing visibility, and queer people's struggles not to be estranged from their families in a culture that is very family-oriented.

Meanwhile, there won't be a Pride march or parade in Shanghai. Any public gathering of more than 50 people without state approval is illegal in China, according to Shanghai Pride. But organizers are expecting hundreds of people to attend the event's opening party this weekend, plus a full week's menu of sports, art, film and theatre. A much-anticipated panel discussion focusing on coming out to parents is also on the schedule, a key issue for gay Chinese youth as it is in India. A US documentary by Susan Polis Schutz, Anyone and Everyone, featuring parents and children of diverse ethnicities and religious backgrounds talking about coming out, will be screened.

Shanghai Pride organizer Charlene Liu told Gay Star News that part of the panel discussion's emphasis is to show positive representations of coming out. 

Funds raised during Pride will go toward establishing a queer centre to advocate for the community year-round.

Landing image source: infosem.org

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