The Humsafar Trust's youth initiative, Yaariyan celebrates Pride month.
Yaariyan (Friendship), a voluntary LGBTQ+ youth initiative of The Humsafar Trust with support of The Norwegian Agency for Exchange Cooperation (NOREC) and Consulate General of Canada (CGC) celebrated a Virtual Pride month at the end of January 2022. The busy calendar of events included online games, a talent show, and also shared support to LGBTQ+ Enterprises.
Over the past 2 years, the pandemic has taken a toll on the mental health of the queer communities, and Yaariyan’s Virtual Pride Month objective was to bring a sense of support and warmth among community members in this new normal scenario.
The event list included Virtual Q-Games (queer games) with over 40+ community members participating in the traditional nostalgic games like Ludo, Housie, and a Photo challenge. The highlight of the events schedule was an offline event - A film screening of ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ on 26th January. Organized by the Guy in the Sky Pictures, T-series Films, Pragya Kapoor and Abhishek Kapoor, Producer and Director of the film respectively. This event, supported by the Consulate General of Canada and NOREC, and The Humsafar Trust was Housefull, with 90+ community members. A Q&A session with the director was much appreciated as the attendees had the opportunity to discuss the film from their point of view. This was followed by a movie quiz on the Yaariyan Facebook group and winners received ‘Chandigarh Kare Aashiqui’ merchandise along with Yaariyan hampers.
The event schedule was wrapped up with its version of ‘Yaariyan’s Got Talent’ within the groups' Facebook community page. With support from the Consulate General of Canada, eight Queer Entrepreneurial ventures were made into adverts to aid them in enhancing their businesses.
Sudhanshu Latad, Yaariyan’s Core Volunteer expresses his thoughts on the event: “Yaariyan has always been a comfortable space for me to be at. The events organized allow me to interact with the community and bring in a sense of belonging. COVID-19 certainly impacted my mental health as the human interaction became limited and this immediate space was not supportive of my Sexual Identity. But online events and the offline event of Film Screening keep the community sense going and provide mental support. I hope we are able to move back to the offline space for more events and engage in more community-strengthening activities.”
Diedrah Kelly, Consulate General of Canada in Mumbai shared her thoughts on this partnership with Yaariyan: “I am grateful to see that Humsafar Trust and Yaariyan have found a way to bring this year’s Pride events online. Gatherings like these are important platforms for rebuilding community spirit and advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Canada is thrilled to be able to support these events, particularly for the Queer-owned businesses as they navigate this virtual world during the pandemic.”
Yaariyan continues to thrive to provide a safe platform for dialogue around the Health and Human Rights of the LGBTQ+ Youth.