Manipur’s capital city hosted its first-ever Pride Walk for the LGBT community in the state on Saturday. While the turnout for the gay parade was modest — around 50 participants — organisers said this was just a beginning. A similar parade took place in Guwahati in February, making it the the first gay parade in the Northeast.
Shanta Khurai, a member of the All Manipur Nupi Manbi (Transgender) Association, one of the organisers of the walk, said the parade had been organised for two reasons. “Firstly, we have decided to mark each month with an activity to support our rights after the Supreme Court verdict (on IPC 377) came out. Secondly, it is to show those who are homosexual and marginalised that they are not alone. There are many more like them and that they can reach out to us if they wish,” she said. The 38-year-old herself is a member of the transgender community and has been at the helm of organising the LGBT rights movement in the state.
“During our walk three boys working in an auto parts workshop that we passed came up to me. They asked me what the walk was about, who we are, what we are celebrating. I explained to them what homosexuality is, who transgenders and homosexuals are and what we were fighting for. This is the purpose — three people will understand what this is about and then explain to three others. That’s how we plan to gather support,’’ she said.
Manipur is one of the few states which also hosts a transgender beauty pageant annually. Last year’s event had participants from Nagaland, Meghalaya and Arunachal.