The Pride March is held in June every year
CHENNAI: Tamil writer and trans activist A Revathi will stage her play ‘Vellai Mozhi’ once again on June 6. But this time, the stage will be the terrace of her home in Namakkal. And her audience, people across the world, who will attend the video conference from 7pm onwards.
While the national lockdown may be lifted, social distancing remains key as the pandemic rages on.
That’s why, this time round, Pride Month celebrations, which are held in June every year, will all go online. However, what will be missing is the Pride March.
“For the first time in 12 years, Chennai will not be having its Rainbow Pride March, in order to reduce the risk of SARS-COV2 transmission,” said L Ramakrishnan, a volunteer.
‘Vellai Mozhi’, which is also part of the Pride celebrations, is being organised by LGBTIQ groups Nirangal and Orinam with Marapachi theatre group and the NGO SAATHII.
The performance will be followed by a panel discussion on LGBTIQ+ activism and the arts.
Transgender activist and founder of Sahodari Foundation Kalki Subramaniam has also curated events for the online platform.
“We will be reaching out to the younger audience via Instagram and activists as well as professional and corporate people interested in activism through Zoom,” she says.
Conducting programmes online has its pros and cons. Pride Month has been a safe space for people of the community to meet and interact, and that’s going to be something people will miss out on. But, with technology at hand, the reach is more.
For instance, ‘Coffee with Kalki – Pride conversations’, the audience can interact with LGBT activists and artists across the world, who will share their experiences. Other interesting sessions include a discourse on using AI and AR as tools of activism, and an online art exhibition by transgender and non- binary artists.
“Human interaction will now be virtual. And it doesn’t allow us to meet people faceto-face and see their reactions. Instead, we will be looking at a tiny camera on the laptop. But people anywhere can log on and ask their questions, and the programmes are also recorded so they can watch it even if they miss it,” says Kalki.
Magdalene Jeyarathnam of the East-West Center for Counselling will also be conducting a series of panel discussions on mental health (two in Tamil and two in English) featuring health specialists and psychiatrists.