Sunshine Festival – bringing the society together and #BreakingStereotypes
by Shrutee K/DNS
A huge number of LGBT people face huge issues related to violence, unemployment, discrimination, poverty and lack of healthcare. This is also due to the lack of awareness in the society as we are conditioned to ignore or label them as someone different.
In order to break this stereotype, a good mix of professionals were invited to speak at the Sunshine Festival that was organised by Madhurima Mazundar, founder or Sunshine In You Initiatives. Supporting the event was Capgemini.
The day started off with the guests of Honours releasing multi-colour balloons. Ms. Satinder Kaur, of Capgemini, highlighted what is happening at the corporate level in regards to recruitment and HR policies for diversity & inclusion and how they have taken the necessary steps.
Amongst the esteemed guests were Mr. Ashok Row Kavi, founder of Humsafar Trust, Urmi Jadhav, a transgender activist and many more. Urmi was very pleased to see corporates and individuals be a part of such initiatives, and hopes that more of these sessions will be held across corporates to create more awareness. Sharing her appreciation of the efforts put in by everyone was Raga. She openly spoke about her journey and coming out and that now the society is ready for the change.
Jhelum Ratna, from the advertising industry added to what these events truly achieve. By spreading awareness it gives confidence to the people belonging to the diverse group to know they have got the kind of support they need.
Healers & Therapists also spoke about creating a safe space of expression. What was really interesting was the panel discussion on fashion and lifestyle. Specialists such as fashion designer Sonali Awasthi, Image consultant Anu Malla and fragrance specialist Vikram Rajgor discussed if queer fashion is suggestive of gender non conformity. The styling trends we see now have been a part of our tradition for centuries. Dhoti’s for women, shirts with ghagara, men wearing jewellery…. It’s not new, yet it stands out.
The place was buzzing with people coming in throughout the day as they enjoyed networking, visiting the unique stalls and clicking pictures at the specially created photo booth. The host for the day, Nidhi Puranik, ensured for a smooth flow of events and kept the room engaged. The ones who came in early, stayed back till late evening to catch the performances by Shubhashish Uphadyay, who’s voice was very captivating, a little humour by founders of Ink-a-laugh and the heart-touching playback theatre by Rangbhumi.