Kashish 2021 announces panel discussion on same-sex marriage rights

To discuss histories, religion & marriage equality for LGBTQIA+ community at the ongoing event.

Mumbai: The 12th edition of Kashish Mumbai International Queer Film Festival - South Asia’s biggest LGBTQIA+ film festival, is underway from 19 August to 5 September, screening 221 films from 53 countries over three weekends. During the weekdays the festival is programming several interesting panel discussions and filmmaker Q&As.

On 31 August at 6 p.m, the panel is set to discuss ‘Marriage Equality – What is the Way Forward’. The topic is especially relevant to the current times in India when the petition for same-sex marriage rights is being heard in the Delhi high court. 

Speakers at the panel include first openly gay prince & activist Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, gay couple & petitioners for same-sex marriage rights in Delhi HC Parag Mehta & Vaibhav Jain, transman activist Vihaan Peethambar & his wife Rajashree Raju, gay couple from Belgium Peter Strijdonk & Stijn Deklerck, and renowned Belgian author & speaker David Paternotte. The panel is moderated by former Mr Gay India and activist Suresh Ramdas.

“It is said that marriages are made in heaven and I'm very positive that we will see heaven in India with marriage equality getting accepted and we will definitely win and I'm very optimistic about it," said Manvendra Singh Gohil.

“I was thinking about how in 2015 when marriage equality came to the US, it came in the evening, there was a Supreme Court judgment and president Obama had asked the White House staff to illuminate the entire building with pride colors. So I remember going with 1000s of people gathering there and cheering and it was so exciting and I looked at Parag and I said, do you think Rashtrapati Bhavan, the presidential palace in India, would ever light up like this. And he said, you know we'll make it happen; and that's what we're trying to do and we hope we succeed," said Vaibhaj Jain partner of Parag Mehta, both of whom are plaintiffs in a landmark court case before the Delhi HC which seeks to legalise same-sex marriage for 1.4 billion people in the world’s largest democracy.

“I think for trans people in India we view marriage like everyone else. You want to marry for companionship, you want to marry for security, for stability, but above all as a means for social acceptance from a society that does everything to suppress your rights," said transman Vihaan Peethambar who married his partner Rajashree Raju in 2019 in Kerala.

“No one would have expected so many countries to adopt same-sex marriage in 20 years, and now it's about 30 countries. So, the good news is that these countries are increasingly diverse - from Argentina to Taiwan and South Africa to Belgium. So these countries have nothing in common. Which means that tomorrow if India wants to adopt same sex marriage it's possible," said David Paternotte, renowned author from Sweden who has written books on marriage equality.

“I really wanted to get married and I had to ask Stijn four times basically before he said yes. For me it was a celebration of love, and the thing for me was also important because I’m much older than him and I was concerned about what will happen when I'm not there anymore, so I wanted also to have the legal status, to be equal to everybody else," said Peter Strijdonk who met his partner Stijn Deklerck in 2005, and they got married in 2011 in Antwerp, Belgium.

“Hoping yes I wish I can have this as well, but should I go outside India to have this or can I have this in India and now that seems to be coming into some sort of reality," said Suresh Ramdas.

The panel is supported by the consulate general of the Kingdom of Belgium in Mumbai. The panel can be watched at

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