The Indian state of Goa hosted its first LGBT Pride parade today.
Organizers of Goa Rainbow Pride Walk 2017 in Goa’s capital, Panaji, believe that the event will help raise awareness of LGBT issues in the state.
The planning committee took inspiration from previous LGBT events in other Indian states when organizing Goa’s celebration, which also includes parties and an LGBT film festival.
“We hope this walk will get rid of homophobia in some way,” event organizer Alexander Fernandes tells It’s Goa. “We want people to know that we are not harmful or ‘bad people.’ We deserve respect like anyone else, and that we too have human rights.”
“We have a large LGBT community in Goa, but most prefer to stay under the scanner since it’s a very small place and everyone knows each other,” adds organizer Diana Dias. “However, we are trying to create more awareness now.”
Parade organizers, who have insisted that the event avoid religion and politics, asked participants not to wear any costumes that could potentially offend conservative Goa residents. Participants were also permitted to wear masks if they preferred to keep their identity private.
See more photos from today’s Goa Pride events below.
Goa just held its first ever pride parade and here are a few moments captured by Sumit Pawar who was on ground streaming the parade on our handle! The festivities in Goa continue with film screenings, parties and meet ups! Follow us to stay in the loop with Goa pride and the upcoming pride events across Delhi & Bangalore! @sumitpawar3158
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— yutheekaborkar (@yutheekaborkar_) October 28, 2017
— Ardra 🐢 (@buzzleboii) October 28, 2017
Goa, a former Portuguese colony with a predominantly Hindu population, is a popular tourist destination because of its beaches. Gay entrepreneur Varun Singal opened a gay-friendly yoga retreat in Goa earlier this year.
Homosexuality in India is still illegal under Section 377 of the penal code, which bans all sex other than heterosexual missionary position. However, an overwhelming majority of the Indian population supports the decriminalization of gay sex.