Today’s a special day.
Is it my birthday? Is it the day Bradley Cooper finally tells me he loves me? Is it the day I inherit a trust fund? Is it the day I find the miracle cure to obesity?
No. It gets better.
Today is Mumbai’s annual LGBT Pride parade – the city’s ninth, with more than 7000 people marching in from across the city (and the world) – it’s the day we all get to stand together for equality. Stand together for basic rights. Stand together for love, but most importantly; stand together because we make a really good-looking picture.
That includes you, straight folks. Are you a red-blooded heterosexual who doesn’t understand why he needs to walk the talk? (‘Why do I need to meet gay guys?’ the average straight bloke would guffaw in my face, ‘How will it help me?’)
Support for your LGBT friends aside, here are four selfish reasons why you need to keep those PlayStations away and walk for Pride today:
- We’ll motivate you to join the gym if you haven’t already.
Let me tell you a secret. We got to Cross Fit when you were still struggling with crunches – it’s no surprise that gay men are more aware of their bodies than their straight counterparts. We might come in all shapes and sizes, but we’ll still make sure we look the best version of ourselves whichever way we are packaged – we are giftwrapped with gym memberships and protein supplements.
And we also do Pilates. Forty-five minutes at Pride can do what hours of staring at fitness videos on YouTube can’t. After that, a few months of motivation is all you need to end up looking like the next big underwear model.
2. Get style advice straight from the expert!
When your idea of making a style statement is cycling through your three Zara shirts with a pair of cream khakis, you need help. I am not saying every gay man is a writer with GQ magazine, but when it comes to fashion, we have the common sense not to wear socks with our sandals. Pride walk is the fashion parade that tells you what works and what doesn’t.
Want to know what colour belt works with your Italian shoes? Do stripes really go with spots? What’s the point of wearing a bow tie? Now you know whom to turn to, oh sweet summer child, so keep your Crocs where they rightfully belong.
Back in your closets.
- Find a gay best friend
Carrie Bradshaw isn’t the only person who needs a gay best friend – everyone could do with one. We know the best places to get brunch, we understand how cufflinks work and we’ll honestly tell you what not to say to your girlfriend when she’s threatening to break up with you. We are the Chandler to your Joey, without the girlfriend who got in the way.
- And finally stop being homophobic and go!
Fashion tips and gym buddies aside, the main reason you should go walk the pride is to show your support for the LGBT community. Contrary to popular belief, the gay men who are at the parade won’t hit on you. They won’t even look at you. We have other important things to worry about – like inequality and basic rights.
Also, walking for the LGBT Pride won’t make you gay – because surprisingly, things don’t work that way. Throw those old fashioned ideas in the trash can and step out. We did it ages ago, and let me tell you that it’s very fulfilling.
Or at least most gay men did.
‘Why should I go?’ asks Jai, a flamboyant digital marketing manager who’s a year older, but eons cuter. ‘I am not an activist; plus it’s a Saturday afternoon, I’ll rather sleep in!’ he sips at his peppermint tea, handing me his almond biscotti.
Sigh. If only his sensibility matched his swagger.
If like Jai, you are one of the many gay men who don’t think it’s their calling (or place) to participate in the parade, don’t fret. I’ve got you covered too. Here are a few reasons for you to pull back those bed covers and pull up your socks just in time for the walk today:
- It gives you the same sense of belonging that a clearance sale does.
Let’s face it – you might love your straight friends to death, but they’d never be able to relate to the bad Grindr date you had last week, the one with the man who thought it’d be okay to get his ex along.
It’s different at the parade – here, as you are surrounded by fun (read: fabulous) people who are just like you, you feel the same way you felt when you bought clothes at half price. Do you know what that lovely feeling is?
It’s the overwhelming sense of community. The feeling that you belong.
Without any dates with exes involved.
- It’s better than finding love on Grindr.
Sick of rummaging around the dregs of online dating, sifting through the same pool of shirtless men?
You have more chances of running into the love of your life here than you have of having a decent, fulfilling conversation on Grindr. Can you imagine the possibilities of not having your heart broken by yet another torso that asks you for ‘a dick pic?’
Well, now you can. How about you go say hi to the cute boy waving the pride flag across the road instead? You no longer need to lie to people about meeting your future boyfriend at Starbucks.
- A chance to dress fabulously.
Remember that multicoloured jacket you drunkenly bought online after a bitter break-up and an even bitter bottle of wine?
Now’s your chance to tear out the plastic wrapping and wear it like you own it (side note: because in this case, you actually do.) Pride’s the perfect excuse to be proud of your identity and keep the inhibitions at bay – feather boas or floral shirts, if you think you can pull it off, pull it out of your closets right now.
- And finally stop the internalized homophobia.
The only people who hate gay men more than bigoted straight men are gay men themselves. The twinks hate the chubs. The bears hate the cubs. The intellectuals hate the social butterflies. The mascs hate the femmes. The models hate the geeks. The activists hate the slackers. The queens hate the discreet. And everyone hates me.
It’s finally time to end the internalized homophobia, guys, and there’s no better place to start than walk for Pride itself. What about me?
I’ll see you at the finish line.
Pssst. Did my words stir you enough to attend? Here are a few quick details for you if you plan to swing by The LGBT Pride Parade later today:
Where: August Kranti Maidan, grant Road, Mumbai – 4000036.
When: Saturday 28th January, 3 PM onwards!