Every year, the month of June is celebrated as ‘Pride Month’ for the LGBTQ+ community, where activities and events are organised around the world to recognise and acknowledge the power and love within the community. June was chosen as Pride Month as it marks the anniversary of Stonewell Riots that took place in 1969. What makes pride month so important is that it was the stepping-stone for huge transformation within the LGBTQ+ community, which in turn stirred larger positive implications.
The Keshav Suri Foundation has announced ‘The LaLiT Suri Hospitality Group
scholarship for transgender students worth INR 75,000. The scholarship will be awarded to five deserving candidates to cover their entire tuition fee at The LaLiT Suri Hospitality School. This is also supported with a Pan-India awareness drive where our team members will visit Gharanas/ Kothis and CBOs/ NGOs that are working for transgender education and empowerment.
Stressing on the importance of the initiative, Mr Keshav Suri, Executive Director of The LaLiT Suri Hospitality Group, and founder of The Keshav Suri Foundation, said, “Education is a basic right and also a tool that helps one lead a life of dignity. The only way we can become an understanding and inclusive society is when the next generation is evolved. We are launching the scholarship to enable the community earn a respectful livelihood and remove prevalent phobia in the society,” he said.
Another important step towards empowerment and creating a safe workspace is being taken in the form of HIV Awareness campaign and sensitisation sessions. These are organised by drag queens and LGBTQ activists including Sonia (Transwoman and acid attack survivor), Betta Naan Stop (Drag Artist), Bismaya (LGBTQ+ activist) across The LaLiT Group of Hotels, Palaces and Resorts. The major themes for the sessions during Pride Month include – HIV Awareness with India HIV AIDS Alliance, inclusion and diversity.
To pursue the LGBTQ+ narrative within the mainstream society, The Keshav Suri Foundation and The LaLiT Suri Hospitality Group are going to be title partners for Kashish Queer Film Festival. The festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year and is going to be held in Mumbai from June 12 till June 16, 2019. The film festival screens gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer films from India and around the world. The ethos of the festival is completely in sync with the motto of the Keshav Suri Foundation – to embrace, empower and mainstream the community.
This Pride Month, we have also announced India’s first inclusive loyalty program for the LGBTQ+ community. Additionally, a series of inclusive nights have been planned at Kitty Su – where members of the community such as Gentlemen Gaga, Lesbian DJ Ma Faiza will play. There is a North East Night at Kitty Su on June 19th along with trans empowerment night and MetProm Night on June 22nd as a way of bringing the community closer. To celebrate the 50th Stonewall Anniversary on June 28, 2019, we will be screening Queer movies, documentaries of Drag Queen followed by a sundowner pool party and Trans Empowerment Night at Kitty Su across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore and Chandigarh.
Even though there is a long way to go in terms of changing attitudes and moving towards a healthier society, these initiatives are our way of contributing to a brighter, beautiful and more inclusive society for all.