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Bengaluru’s Namma Pride gets a thumbs up for its accessibility features

Bengaluru is all set to celebrate love on 9 December. Yes, Namma Pride is back with a bang. The annual pride march, held every year in all major cities of India, brings together people from the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities.

It is their moment to get their voices heard and to show their strength and solidarity is shown. This year there is some good news for people with disabilities as well as Namma Pride 2018 will be accessible and disabled-friendly. Organizers have left no stone unturned to make sure that disabled people can enjoy the event.

Bengaluru was the first city in India to host a pride march that is disabled-friendly. This was way back in 2016. Madhumita Venkatraman and Ritesh Rajani, along with a few organizers worked towards making a difference for an accessible pride. This time efforts are being made to include people with all types of disabilities.

Ritesh Rajani, one of the organizers, said plenty of thought has gone into making the event accessible.

During the marches, the roads are inaccessible for a wheelchair user. There are numerous potholes and bumps due to which they will not be able to move around freely. It is same for the case of someone who uses callipers or crutches as well. Blind or deaf people were also not able to fully enjoy the event. So we knew that we had to bring about a change. That is how we went a step ahead to make Namma Pride 2016, an event for disabled people too. That way, more disabled people, who were part of our community, could attend the event. - Ritesh Rajani, Co-organizer, Namma Pride

This year, there will be disabled-friendly cabs which will move slowly so a disabled person can be a part of the march. For blind people, there will be sighted companions who give them details of what is happening. Deaf people will be provided with an Indian Sign Language (ISL) interpreter.

There are thousands of NGOs in Karnataka that works towards empowering disabled people. Namma Pride hopes that their message will reach all of them loud and clear. Organizers say that the march will also encourage some disabled people to open up about their real gender identities.

"Sexuality is hardly spoken about in the lives of disabled people because they have bigger priorities like work and education to be taken care of. So the topic of sexuality is never really discussed. A few disabled people thanked us for making Namma Pride accessible because they could come out and that feels great. We are looking this as a project that can be sustained. Other cities can also take lessons from us", says Ritesh.

Prateek Kaur,, Co-founder, GiftAbled Foundation, is handling the accessibility part of the event.

"This year, we have a lot of volunteers who have come to lend a helping hand to us to make the march accessible and disabled-friendly. So, apart from disabled people, even senior citizens can reach out for help. Almost 30 disabled people have registered to participate in Namma Pride and I believe the numbers are only going to increase. Accessibility will help to create a lot of awareness as well. The future is only going to get better", says Prateek.

Disabled or not, do not miss out on this historic event which gives you the opportunity to celebrate love, togetherness and inclusion.

ALSO READ: Kerala government reserves 4% jobs for disabled people in government-aided educational institutions

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