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India's only LGBT choir, Rainbow Voices from Mumbai is touring the world and fighting stereotypes

Sep 9, 2019, 08:32 IST

  • As India marks the first anniversary of decriminalizing homosexuality on Section 377, Rainbow Voices -- India's only LGBT choir shares their story with Business Insider India.
  • An-year-old Rainbow Voices is trying to break prejudices, inequality, and stereotypes by performing across the world.

From Lady Gaga’s Born This Way to Shafaqat Amanat Ali’s Ye Hosla Kese Ruke, every Sunday, a bunch of LGBT people in Mumbai gather to practice music.

For over a year, the choir Rainbow Voices has been singing Bollywood mixes in Mumbai. They feel it is easier to communicate through music. And, they have an important message to spread--of equality.

"Through our music, we want to keep the hope of equality and justice alive in India," Rainbow Voices said.

Manasi Manoj, a member of Rainbow Voices, told that their pride walks are well received. “The moment we started walking people were like “OMG ! They’re here,” They were welcoming us,they recognised we’re here,'' she said.

Rainbow Voices had many small but significant victories. They helped many families accept their LGBTQ children for what they are.

“If people can enjoy our music, why can’t they treat us as equals? Why do they deny us our rights?" asks Jnanasiddhy Bommisetty another member of the choir.

A safe place

Vinodh Philip and C V Mathew’s founded India's first LGBTQ choir in the summer of 2014. They realised that India needs an LGBTQ-friendly church choir in the city where people can feel safe. Within a year, they doubled their team numbers to 40.

Their members are employees working 9 to 5 jobs; school students; and freelancers working from home. But they dedicate every Sunday to celebrate pride for equality to justice.

“It is the only place where I can drop all guard, talk, laugh and trade silly lines; it gives me a sense of a community," said a member of the choir.

All their concerts are completely sold out. And, they helped many members to come out of the closet to their parents. They are also the first to go abroad and perform with Pink Singers, a famous LGBT choir in London.

And, they believe that they have a lot of work to do, and India has a long way to go.

"Recognizing civil unions or same-sex marriages of other countries within India would be a good way to kick-start these changes,"Ashish from Rainbow Voices said.

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