LGBT activists question Mumbai with 'placards for change'
The two young turks, Harish Iyer and Sonal Giani, went around displaying signs at several places in the city and sought support for the abolishment of Section 377, which was recently upheld by SC to criminalise gay sex
It was an unusual sight yesterday for many Mumbaikars when they saw two people standing silently, holding up signs. These were LGBT activists Harish Iyer and Sonal Giani, who were seeking support from the city against Section 377, after the Supreme Court recently upheld the law, effectively making homosexuality illegal.
The movement is called ‘Placards for Change’. On a Facebook page of the same name, the duo asked people to write slogans in support of LGBT rights and against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. They then decided to write these crowdsourced slogans on placards and displayed them to people around Mumbai. The duo, during their commute to work and back, went to markets, local trains, parks, and stood on the streets of the city with these signs.
Iyer, an equal rights activist from Navi Mumbai, started his campaign from the satellite city itself. His sign read: “If sexuality is a choice, when did you choose to be straight?” Travelling to busy stations like Kurla and further, he silently posed the pertinent question to thousands of commuters. Giani walked on the footpaths, through the vegetable markets and on the busy roads of the city. Her placard read: “If being gay was a choice, then why would anyone choose a life of discrimination? Apni akal lagao.”
Placards for Change will continue for nearly a month, counting down to the Gay Pride parade, which is to be held in Mumbai early next month. For the whole of January, the two activists have decided to display such messages and claim that anyone can join them in the movement.
Iyer told MiD DAY, “This is a way to keep the momentum alive. We have asked people to keep sending us slogans. We will write them down on placards, hold them high and roam around the city. We aren’t skipping work, but are doing this while on our way to office and on our way back home. We don’t mind people joining us and we will keep doing this till the day of Gay Pride parade.”