Same-sex sexual activity remains to be illegal in India, although parades have been extremely popular among LGBT locals. Such events bring queer Indians together and manifest their presence in society. Nevertheless, far from all Indian states have come to the founding of annual rainbow celebrations in the area.
One of the most conservative states in India is Odisha. Members of the LGBT community face harassment and bulling on a day-to-day basis there. Besides, rates of mental health illness among the queer community are spiking, especially in the capital of the state – Bhubaneswar. This ancient city is an ideal destination for travelers, who wish to explore Kalinga architecture with its numerous Hindu temples. By the way, Bhubaneswar is commonly called the Temple City of India and together with Konark and Puri form a famous “Golden Triangle”, one of the most popular destinations in the east part of India.
Recently, it became known that Bhubaneswar’s advocate for the rights of gay and lesbian Indians Bijaya Biswal in cooperation with other LGBT activists decided to establish yearly Pride celebration in order to provide better visibility for the local queer community. Biswal commented: “Gay and lesbian citizens of our city are often isolated, discriminated and disowned by their families, so they are most likely subjected to depression and other mental health illnesses. We decided to establish an annual Bhubaneswar Pride not only for people to parade, but also to show those living in closet that they are not alone.” Bhubaneswar Pride is planned to become something larger than just a parade. Organizers of the event have already included queer poetry sessions, film screening and workshops to the list of pre-Pride events. The inaugural Pride celebration in Bhubaneswar kicks off on September 1, 2018.