British Columbia

South Asians launch Bollywood float for Vancouver Pride Parade

The founder of a South Asian support group for Sikh gays and their families says it has been an uphill battle trying to raise money to enter a Bollywood theme float in this year's Vancouver Pride Parade.

The founder of a South Asian support group for Sikh gays and their families says it has been an uphill battle trying to raise money to enter a Bollywood theme float in this year's Vancouver Pride Parade.

"Living Out Proud" is this year's theme song for the annual gay and lesbian, bisexual and transgender community's parade on Sunday, and that's just what Delta resident Amar Sangha wants members of his group, Sher Vancouver, to do.

"We're a new group, and we're changing a lot of ideas," said Sangha, who added that Sher Vancouver is not a religious group, but a social support group for the South Asian community.

Sher Vancouver has built a float with a Bollywood theme, and is encouraging members and supporters to dress up as their favourite Bollywood actors and actresses for the parade.

But as the founder of the new group Sangha has run into opposition from people in the South Asian community who don't want the organization to link itself with the Sikh religion.

"People have been sending me e-mails, and they think we don't want Sikhism associated with homosexuality and we don't want a Sikh float in the pride parade," Sangha said.

It has also been tough getting businesses in the South Asian community to sponsor the float.

As part of its lobbying efforts, Sher Vancouver sent letters attached to its sponsorship requests explaining what homosexuality is. But many businesses stated that they are already committed to other charities and in the end only three chose to sponsor the group's float, said Sangha.

Despite the limited support, he said, the float will be ready when the parade kicks off on Sunday.

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