Written by Monica Asthana
On Sunday, several members of the LGBTQ community will be at the FC Road market, carrying placards saying, ‘Hug me’. The initiative, by a Pune-based LGBTQ organisation named MIST, is aimed at spreading awareness about queer people and, in the process, reduce discrimination and prejudice against them. ‘Queer Hug’ is also a way of observing the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, which falls on May 17.
“We have been oranising ‘Queer Hug’ for the past three years. This year, my team and I decided to organise the event on Sunday, when the market is most crowded,” said Shyam Konnur, founder of MIST.
He said in the previous editions of Queer Hug, many people responded by enveloping the queer volunteers in a hug, while others were shy and preferred to just smile. “I have seen very few cases where people pass hurtful comments or oppose the movement,” said Konnur, adding that this year, there are plans to offer small tokens of gratitude to the people who hug the volunteers.
“With the Queer Hug initiative, we aim to establish a more interactive event. People talk to the volunteers, take pictures and some even volunteer to be a part of this initiative..,” he added.