Updated: Mar 10
Mumbai, the city of dreams, has been hosting gay parties since the 1970s, fulfilling the dreams of gay men to meet and greet each other. The attitude of Mumbai has been very neutral towards the queer community. Some say Bollywood is the reason for such a neutral stance while some give the credit to the fashion industry of Mumbai. From printing magazines to holding pride rallies to hosting parties and safe spaces for the queer community, Mumbai has got all covered. I am mentioning some of the places and groups among the large list of LGBTQ places that can be found in Mumbai.
Gaysi Family: A website called Gaysi Family offers services to the LGBT community in South Asia. Their mission statement is to interact as much as possible with the desi LGBT community. Their online forum and platform currently offer content, including Gaysi Zines (a print magazine that brings and publishes stories of the homosexual community) and events, to desis worldwide.
Yaariyan: The Humsafar Trust's voluntary youth initiative, Yaariyan, encourages and supports young LGBTQ voices to speak out and get involved in anything that is new and current. They frequently plan events for the out and proud (in the past, they've even held self-defense classes), but they also provide a safe space for anyone who wants to come in for counseling and acceptance meetings. Every year on August 15, a gathering known as the "acceptance meet" is reportedly organized. Yaariyan is credited with organizing the nation's first flash mob with an LGBT theme.
Queer Azaadi Mumbai (QAM): It is the organization that oversees the annual Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride parade. About 500 people participated in their first march, which was held in the year 2008. The QAM gathers and begins to prepare for D-Day. In the run-up to the event, they plan flash mobs, movie screenings, drag shows, street acts, and carnivals.
Gay Bombay: It is an online group that was established in 1999 that provides the gay community with support, and counseling, and even plans offline parties throughout the city. This social organization puts on various events for the LGBTQ community, from throwing parties to hosting movie screenings.
Umang: The Humsafar Trust for Lesbians and Transgender Women has another project called Umang (LBT). For lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, they offer services such as mental health counseling, workshops, social gatherings (called Chill Out), legal support, and community support. Umang was established in order to provide LBT women with healthy support and inspiration. There is a helpline one can call at any moment to get in touch with them.
6Degrees: The goal of this project by three activists from Mumbai, Harish Iyer, Praful Baweja, and Sushil, is to establish a professional network and venue for the LGBTQ community. The community can network, recruit, hunt for employment, share ideas, or even sharpen new skills at events that 6Degrees arranges.
Sweekar: Sweekar is a support network for parents of LGBTQ children run by parents. It is a support group started by a group of parents with the goal of educating parents about their child's sexual orientation and how to handle it. It encourages parents to celebrate and value their children's sexuality and attempts to help them as they become more aware of and comfortable with their child's orientation.
The GayGaze Bombay: The Gay Gaze, a publication written exclusively by LGBTQIA+ authors, aims to challenge conventional cultural critique and give voices that are frequently silenced in public discussions about the state of media a platform. They have numerous offline meet-ups, details of which can be found on their Instagram handle.
Bambai Nazariya: “Nazariya badlo, nazaara badlega” is the slogan this cafe follows. It is run by the transgender community and gives a very warm and homely vibe.
SAHAAS: It is a free therapy support group for queer people.
FirstContact.LGBT: A virtual space where you can find like-minded people; interact and make a bond with them. The platform has a lot of queer folks from and around Pune. Join the platform to interact with them and other queer folks from Mumbai and the rest of the country.
Apart from these, there are a lot of LGBTQIA+-friendly pubs, bars, and cafes where you can chill out, and meet and greet other folx from the community. Some of these are The Ghetto, Neos, Kaama Lounge, Cafe Mondegar, Cafe Zoe, Kitty Su, Doolally Taproom, etc. Mumbai has always taken pride in being inclusive and progressive. No matter where you're from or how you decide to spend your life, nobody in this city is going to judge you. Because of this, Mumbai has been welcoming the LGBTQ community with open arms.