Bengaluru's Pride Month events have something for everyone

Here is our selection of three very different events with the same goal: inclusivity
Last Updated 08 June 2022, 08:29 IST

Originating in June 1970, the first Pride parade was held to commemorate the first anniversary of the Stonewall riots. Since then, June has been celebrated as Pride Month across the globe.

A celebration of queer identity, and a protest for equal rights, Pride Month, has become increasingly corporate in recent times. But Bengaluru has always been at the forefront of queer-led non-corporate Pride.

Bengaluru's relatively young, progressive crowd has made it easy for queer artistes and event organisers to express their identity openly. There truly is something for everyone in the city, from parties celebrating and validating queer artistry to laid-back game nights. Listed below are three such events being organised in the city this month,

Pride 5K 2022

The Pride 5k 2022 is a 5 kilometre run on June 5 at Cubbon Park. The event is being organised by the Bengaluru Frontrunners, an inclusive running/fitness initiative for the LGBTQIA+ community in Bangalore. Allies are welcome too.

"Many members in the LGBTQIA+ community faced bullying as children, which led them to avoid sports and fitness in general," said Vishal Jha, president of Bengaluru Frontrunners, explaining his reasons behind launching this initiative. "With Bengaluru frontrunners, we wanted to restart their fitness journeys in the safest space possible."

UX designer by profession, Jha started running seriously about three years ago. He decided to launch Bengaluru frontrunners as a safe space for LGBTQIA+ folx to start running post-lockdown. He organises runs every Sunday and has become a staple of Cubbon Park mornings.

The organisation is a chapter of International Frontrunners, an international fitness initiative with similarly aligned values. The initiative also sponsors queer women and trans runners looking to compete in marathons.

If you're a beginner and are afraid of keeping up with the pros, don't worry, there's also a 3 km walk led by experienced members.

Kitty Ko's Pride Month

Bengaluru nightlife staple Kitty Ko has a packed month of events planned out.

Their year-round adrenaline-filled initiative, Pure Love Nights, has become the stuff of nightclub legend. Having launched more than 35 drag artists from across India, their biggest stars are returning to Bengaluru this June to showcase their artistry.

Betta Naan Stop, drag artiste extraordinaire, will be performing at Kitty Ko on June 18, the penultimate stop on their "The Naan Stop Tour."

Credit: Kitty Ko
Credit: Kitty Ko

Kitty Ko also has a Kitty Hunt planned for June, apart from established acts. This is their flagship talent hunt, where drag and go-go artists from across the country will get a chance to showcase their skills.

Zeeshan Ali, better known as zir (a gender-neutral pronoun) drag persona Zeesh, has graced the cover of Vogue India and has been lauded for zir artistry by fans across India.

"Kitty Ko Bangalore nurtured me as a drag artiste, thanks to my beloved drag mother "monster" Keshav Suri, who helped mainstream drag culture in India," said Ali about the role Kitty Ko and Bengaluru played in zir success.

"Each city has its way of seeing drag. Bangalore is one of the most progressive cities in India; it's known for its youth culture and diversity in artistic consumption; hence avant-garde drag performances work well here".

Credit: Chaiffee Cafe
Credit: Chaiffee Cafe

Pride Quiz Night

If crowded nightclubs and 7 am runs aren't your scene, check out the weekend Quiz Nights at Chaiffee Café in J.P. Nagar. Started post-lockdown by Arvind Kewalchand, the café provides in-house brewed teas and food made from Kewalchand's grandmother's recipes.

"I wanted to create an inclusive space with events that would make people put down their phones for a night," said Kewalchand.

After lockdown, he returned to Bengaluru, having lived in Dubai for many years.

"I realised there's a dearth of LGBTQIA+ inclusive places to chill in Bangalore. All I saw were parties," he said. "To make sure the place is as inclusive as possible, the staff went through inclusivity training specifically for the LGBTQIA+ community," he said.

The café hosts a quiz night every Saturday, and the next one is on June 4. It's a Pride-themed quiz, and you play for free food, vouchers and more.

(Published 05 June 2022, 04:23 IST)

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