On the chilly afternoon of 29th November, while the capital was engrossed in top-notch events in the region, a part of Delhi was coming out of the closet and filling the air with rainbows. Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender ( LGBT) community and supporters took to the streets in solidarity to honour and celebrate gender diversity and sexuality at the 8th Delhi Queer Pride Parade. Some joined in against the will of their closed ones. “My mom was okay with it but my Dad wasn’t. But it wasn’t about them, it was about my friend and this community at large.” said one of the supporters.
Participants wrapped in exuberant garbs carried face and body paints with great panache. It was delightful to watch everyone in outlandish masks, which were reported to be slightly less in number than the previous years as people are progressively attending the parade without masks.
The march began around 2.40 pm and saw 5000 members of the LGBT community and allies walking, in unison and pride across the 2 km stretch from Barakhamba Road to Tolstoy Marg and then to Jantar Mantar. Amidst all the happy faces and rainbow turbans, there was a cheerful vibe spanning across the parade, there were captivating poetry recitals, powerful speeches and sloganeering by JNU students saying “I’m gay, that’s ok” and “Humein kya chahiye? Azaadi” (What do we want? Freedom) accompanied by songs, dhols and gleeful and carefree dancing.
Apart from being a celebration of LGBT community, the queer pride parade appealed the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises homosexuality, and make the acceptance of LGBTs a prominent affair which is still considered a major taboo in most parts of the country. It was a powerful and beautiful entreaty to make the world a better place to live and love by getting rid of discrimination based on caste, colour, gender or anything else.
The emotion has been perfectly portrayed by Dhrubo Jyoti, an activist, who says, “Queer people cannot be free in a world where people of various hues are shackled, not just because a common oppressor — overarching patriarchy — attacks us all, but also because many of us straddle multiple identities — we’re Dalit and queer, Muslim and queer, Tribal and queer, Disabled and queer.”
You can check out the highlights of the event here and show your support by following their facebook page.
photography by Siddhi Soi