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In order to stress the importance of straight allies, the seventh edition of Pune Pride March would see a group of non LGBTI community leading the march as grand marshal. Bindumadhav Khire, president of the Pune-based Samapathik Trust that organises the pride march every year, said this would be the first time after the inaugural year that Pune Pride would be led by people from the non LGBTI community.
Khire, while speaking about the move to have a non community grand marshal, said it was a move to honour the support the community members receive from their straight allies. “Acceptance by the straight community, be it parents, friends, relatives etc is an important step. So we decided to honour their acceptance by electing them to be the grand marshal,” he said.
Instead of a single individual, the grand marshal would be a group of people, mostly brothers, sisters and other relatives of individuals from the LGBTI community. Other than the first Pride, the grand marshals have always been from the LGBTI community. The first pride, Khire said, was led by a straight member who was from the Pathfinder International.
Held once a year, the Pride march is an important event in the calendar of the LGBTI community in the city. Members of LGBTI community march along fix roads carrying banners and talking about inclusion and acceptance.
Over the years, the Pride March has become a visible symbol of acceptance with straight allies as well as Multi National Companies (MNCs) joining in large numbers. Last year was the first time MNCs had joined the march with their banners proclaiming support for the cause. Pride marches across the globe have evolved a powerful tool for advocacy for the community. Participation of straight community is also significant in many of the marches that are held in India too.
Khire said he was hoping to see larger participation from MNCs than last year. “We also hope that the Pride March will see overwhelming support from the straight allies and we should have equal participation of both the communities,” he said.
The March is scheduled to be held on June 11.