Gay community asserts identity with pink products

Last Updated: Nov 29, 2010, 12:11 PM IST

New Delhi: Mugs and T-shirts with witty one liners like ‘Jalebii High’, ‘Pink Sheep of the Family’, ‘Haan Hoo! Toh?’ (Yes I am! So?) are catching up among the capital`s gay community that held the third edition of its `Gay Pride Parade’ Sunday.

Such customised products are increasingly gaining popularity among the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community which wants to assert its identity a year after a court decriminalised homosexuality.

The parade this year by the LGBT community saw around 2,000 people march from the Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar in central Delhi.

An exclusive exhibition of specially customized cloth and accessories line for the parade was on offer by the store Azaad Bazaar.

"We started our exhibition here on Friday. We have received a great response from our clients here," Sabina from Azaad Bazaar told reporters.

According to Sabina, not only the queer community but also the non-queer groups have shown enthusiastic interest in the products.

"Even the non-queer community has shown a lot of interest in our products and out of the total sales 40 percent comprises this group," she said.

She added that the store will permanently place its products at the Peoples Tree store in central Delhi.

The niche market segment spanning clothing and fashion accessories, tourism and media targeted at the LGBT community is fast growing in India, with entrepreneurs wanting to cash in on its purchasing power.

Sanjay Malhotra founded Indjapink, India`s first dedicated online gay travel boutique, nearly two years back. It has catered to around 500 high-end foreign and Indian tourists.

The Delhi-based firm organises special tours to holiday spots in Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kerala among others and charges approximately $200 (over Rs.9,000) a day.

Merchandise apart, the special literature too is catching up.

Social activist Shobhna S. Kumar is the brain behind Queer-INK, an e-store catering to the gay community.

"I got the idea for this after I personally experienced the lack of availability of books on queer issues in India. Even if they are there in a mainstream book store, queer people hesitate to buy it," Kumar, director of queer-ink.com, told reporters.

Even the entertainment and lifestyle segment of the community saw a boost with the recently launched `Fun` magazine, the seventh such publication catering to the LGBT community.

"The pink industry here is growing as fast as in the West. With economic growth and huge amounts of disposable incomes with young queer people, you see new customized products," said Robert Wintemute, professor at King`s College, London, who has studied sexual minorities across the world.

IANS