About 300 LGBTI activists marched through India’s eighth largest city for the fourth Pune pride, double last year’s turnout.
‘This time we are specifically looking at youngsters who are petrified of coming out in the open about their sexual orientation,’ Bindumadhav Khire, president of organizers Samapathik Trust, told the Times of India.
‘We want to help them in accepting their sexuality and being comfortable about it.’
The theme was of this year’s parade was Youngistan Zindabad, the name of a youth talk show, and efforts were made to include more young people.
The grand marshal was Tinesh Chopade, a gay youth and Samapathik trustee, and the route was redirected through the central Deccan Gymkhana area – a regular hangout of youngsters.
Pune is situated in the western Maharashtra state and has a population of 2.5 million people.
In order to portray a positive image of LGBTI people, a strict code of conduct was issued a week before the parade.
Participants were asked to dress decently and behave well, and told not to shout slogans based on religion, castes, political parties, leaders or slogans against the Supreme Court or Supreme Court judges.
Dancing, playing instruments, carrying sticks or other weapons, turning up drunk and smoking during the march were all banned.
‘If a participant is found to misbehave we will hand him/her over to the police. I hope participants understand that Pune is conservative by nature and they are expected to respect these sentiments,’ organizers said in a statement.
‘If they find that these conditions are unfair/too stifling they are free to express their pride elsewhere.’
Other participating groups included Prayatna, CYDA, Samyak and Gay Bombay.