It’s time to celebrate who you are!

With all the minority communities out there, human rights are violated every single day and we still have a long way to go when it comes to equal rights, freedom and acknowledgement. Hoping to move things along, people have come together to create a variety of different festivals that celebrate people of all types of race, gender and sexuality.

The Sherp brings you the top festivals in India as well as abroad, that celebrate different sections of society in all their glory.

Celebrating Sexuality

1. KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival


Also known as the Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, this festival is an LGBT event that puts the community’s creative talents into the spotlight! Hosting a number of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer films in not just India but across the globes; the organizers make sure LGBT members in the film industry get the attention they truly deserve. The theme of this year’s edition is ‘Diverse one’.

When and where: May 24th to 28th, 2017 at Liberty Cinema & Alliance Francaise de Bombay

2. Kolkata Rainbow Pride Festival


It’s not just the people of Mumbai who are taking action, but Kolkata too! Formed in May 2011, the festival features a special Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk and showcases a number of interesting events that include art exhibits, film screenings, panel discussions, cultural events, community hang outs etc. What’s great is that this event became the longest running event of its kind in the whole of South Asia! Since it’s inception, the festival has grown tremendously and features panel discussions and focuses on different topics every year.

Find out more here. 

3. Pride Festival 2017


Being a multicultural city filled with Diasporian communities from around the world, it’s no wonder that London would host a large scale LGBT festival such as this. The Pride Festival is one of  London’s most well-known festivals, showcasing moving talents and celebrating diversity of the LGBT community in full force. Theatre, dance, talks and conferences, LGBT+ tours, art are a big part of the festival and contribute to making it one of the biggest pride festivals London has ever seen.

When: 24th June to 9th July 2017. Find out more here. 

Celebrating Gender

4. Raja Festival


With everything going on in our country, who would have thought there would be a festival solely dedicated to womanhood? Well, thanks to the brave people of Odisha, menstruating women are not just treated with dignity and respect but have an entire festival devoted to them. Connecting the harvest to womanhood, the people believe that the earth is undergoing her menstrual cycle during the three days of the festival and hence, just like the women, should not be disturbed. Interesting concept, isn’t it?

5. SHE Festival


Our country really seems to be throwing in surprises when it comes to acceptance and evolution as a society. In yet another celebration of women, the SHE festival focuses on body shaming, women’s hygiene and financial independence. It even tackles current issues like beauty bias, rape, victim blaming and women safety. Even more, talented designers and women entrepreneurs showcase their products and creative designs that include jewellery, accessories and home decor.

When: A 2017 date hasn’t been confirmed yet. Find out more here.

Celebrating Race

6. Black Choreographers Festival


Celebrating black history month, the 13th annual Black Choreographers Festival puts African as well as African-American dance and culture on the centre-stage. What’s cool, the festival also features award-winning Bay area choreographers and companies. The Next Wave Choreographers Showcase: New Voices | New Works segment, that celebrates diverse African-American artistic expression, will feature premiers by Byb Chanel Bibene, Gregory Dawson, Ibrahima Diouf, Chris Evans, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Maurya Kerr, Robert Moses and more.

When: Feb. 11-26, 2017. Find out more here. 

sf|noir Wine & Food Festival


If you’re gonna celebrate the laurels of the African American community, you might as well include food and drinks in there too. With professional chefs offering their interpretations of classic soul food and delicious African American inspired dishes, these cuisines include everything from soul food and  Southern-inspired cooking to Caribbean and Pan-African dishes as well as  BBQ. With exciting events such as the Shrimp & Grits Taste-Off, a Sunday brunch, cooking demonstrations, live jazz performances and a whole lot more; this isn’t an event you would want to miss.

When: Feb. 23-26, 2017. Find out more here.