NEW DELHI (Web Desk) – Delhi’s first queer flashmob for LGBT rights performed to a packed audience on Sunday morning at Connaught Place in India’s capital, the Hindustan Times reported.
The initiative was decided on a whim, when a few members of a queer collective in Delhi called Harmless Hugs decided to do something spectacular for the LGBT cause in the city.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in India face legal and social difficulties not experienced by non-LGBT persons.
Sexual activity between two persons of the same sex is criminalised, and is punishable by incarceration. India does, however, legally recognise Hijras as a gender separate from men or women, making the country one of the few in the world to legally recognise a third gender.
“I became interested because it is for a good cause. A flashmob is the perfect recipe to draw a crowd and create a platform for the voices that call for equality,” said 21-year-old Mahika – a Delhi University graduate.
She is not alone. Around two dozen other young people from all parts of the city came together from all over the Capital to advocate for the rights of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people – none of them professional dancers – practicing for eight hours every weekend. Some of them vomited and fainted, others cramped, parched, tired and sweaty – one even had a foot injury but continued.
“When we announced, it wasn’t planned – it was a decision taken in the heat of the moment. We had no idea how to go about it but knew we had to manage somehow,” says Harsh Agarwal, one of the organisers.
Finding a choreographer was the first hurdle but the enthusiasts luckily found someone reputed who not only accepted the challenge of training first timers but was also warm and friendly. Her toil and her students’ sweat bore fruit at the flashmob.
“I came to the flashmob because I want to stand for equal rights, liberty and the right to love irrespective of what they have between their legs or chest,” said Palak, who works in a magazine.
The flashmob brought people from all the spectrum of the rainbow – gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender – who came together to form a community. Yaariyan, the Mumbai LGBT flash mob – that performed a well-choreographed and rehearsed Bollywood-style dance routine in 2013 also inspired them.
The routine started with one dapper dancer who was joined by more and more, all with their hands painted rainbow colors, until they were performing a full Bollywood item number with choreography that included same-sex couples dancing.
However, the Delhi Police made them run around till the last minute but the participants say they received support from the Aam Aadmi Party.
Flashmobs may be over a decade old but its impact has only started India now – with the ringing success of the CST flashmob three years.
The youngsters hope Sunday’s event will follow the same path.
“Through this dance, I hope the message reaches the government that if loving someone is a crime, then the whole world is a criminal,” says Gautam Yadav, an organiser and participant.