Mumbai: Taking a page from the queer youth festivals held at IIT Delhi and IIT Madras, IIT Bombay’s ‘Saathi’, an LGBTQ+ resource group, organised ‘Rangavali’, the first-ever queer festival to be held on the Powai campus.
Held on March 25 and March 26, the fest attracted a crowd of nearly 150 students from inside and outside the campus. Faculty members and parents of the participating queer students also attended the event.
The students held several panel discussions over the weekend with the aim of making the campus more empathetic. “The IIT Bombay crowd happens to be very inclusive and very homophobic at the same time. You meet all kinds of people here so we held these sessions to sensitise the students,” said Vishvanath Falegaonkar, a research fellow who was also a part of Rangavali’s organising team.
No pride parade as students mourn recent death of first-year student
The fest invited queer students to express their creativity through a poetry contest, art exhibition, talent show, fashion show, and guitar jam sessions too. The festival, this year, chose to omit a pride parade since the campus had recently witnessed the unfortunate death of a first-year student.
IIT Bombay students look forward to holding it in the years to come as Rangavali has become an event that is here to stay. “Soon, we will also write to our administration and ask them to appoint a separate dean of diversity. This move will certainly help all queer students on campus,” said Vishvanath.
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