September 6 is a significant day in the lives of the LGBTQIA+ community in India. It was this day, last year, the Supreme Court of India read down Section 377, and decriminalised homosexuality in the country. The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group, played its part then, and continues to play a part by celebrating the occasion with the Queer Freedom Tour.
The Tour breathes inclusivity and celebrates love without boundaries. The idea is to mobilise people across the country to start a conversation. To celebrate what has been achieved and plan the tricky road ahead.
The Executive Director of the Group and the founder of the Keshav Suri Foundation (KSF), Mr Keshav Suri, who was one of the petitioners in the Supreme Court PIL, is excited to celebrate this day, “Like the entire country celebrates August 15 as Independence Day, September 6 is the freedom day for people of the LGBTQ+ community. Taking one step at a time, we won this battle, after years of struggle. Kitty Su with its inclusive practices and events has turned into a movement and we through Freedom Tour, we want to unite people, encourage them to love and shed their biases – regional, religious, sexual or any other.”
The celebrations will start on September 1 with an Queer Mic at Kitty Su. The event will bring together queer people from varied backgrounds to share their journey as their authentic selves through spoken word, poetry, comedy, storytelling and photo exhibition. The in participants will include sex workers, HIV positive people and acid attack survivors who will share their journey and provide young individuals with inspiration.
The talent pool across cities is diverse and inclusive, with performers from different regions and religions ready to rock the Kitty Su floor. Though Virgin Xtravanganzah, a British Drag Queen will also grace the stage in Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai, for a lesson in history. The Freedom Tour will last for three days and cover five cities. Local drag divas such as Navya, Megha, Zeeshan Lisa, Betta Naan Stop, Pran, Drag King Bidisha, and Trans Queen Ivanka, will grace the Kitty Su floor across cities. North Eastern talent Dame Imphala will take centre stage in Kolkata.
The Lalit, courtesy KSF has also collaborated with NGO partners OXFAM – for flood relief at national level and Make Luv Not Scars in New Delhi, ATHB in Kolkata, Kinnar Maa Trust in Mumbai, Saksham Trust – Chandigarh, Solidarity Foundation in Bangalore to raise more serious issues during these celebrations.