The capital resounded with a “we’re here, and we’re queer” slogan undeterred by the thick grey blanket of smog, that engulfed the city. The 10th edition of the Delhi Queer Pride, held on 12th November 2017, was 5,000 people strong. Every year the parade aims to engender acceptance for personal expression and love and sex in all its consensual forms, across gender, caste, class, ability, religion, nationality and language, to the society.
On the need for such a walk, Neha, a participant, said, “Never in my life have I had the liberty of expression under the weight of suppression, but my sexuality is the road to my freedom, the voice of my rebellion.”
The parade witnessed a distinct fall in the number of mask wearing individuals, hinting at the act of an open assertion of their identity.
Completing an entire round around the outer circle of Connaught Place, one of the busiest streets in Delhi, the participants, who don’t confine themselves to a particular sexual identity, made passers-by acknowledge their presence and asserted their identity through way of slogans, music, dance and colour.
“The choice of songs to which we danced helped us assert our femininity. It is an embrace of our inherent yet deemed acquired womanhood,” Bobby said.
Some participants also extracted meaning from each colour of the rainbow for the gays, where “…red stood for enthusiasm, orange for artistic, yellow for pure, green for being ever green, blue for being ligh-heartedness, etc.”
The Queer Pride this year aimed to incorporate the problems faced by not just the queer groups but also extended their unflinching support to Dalit rights, disability rights as well as the feminist movement.
Vimal Bhai, environmental activist, and Noor Enayat, LGBTQI activist, while addressing the gathering and reading out the manifesto, said, “Until Hadiya is free, until Kausalya and Shankar get justice, until rape accused ex-IGP of Bastar SRP Kalluri and SP Ankit Garg are brought to justice and stripped of their President’s police medal and gallantry awards, until the impunity around the rapes and murders of Asiya and Nilofer and Manorama are broken, until the women of BHU and in universities everywhere can be free from intimidation and curfews, our collective right to love with freedom and safety remains in jeopardy… We stand with all those struggling to remain alive and speak truth to power today.”
The Delhi Queer Pride Committee also released its list of demands on the occasion. It demanded for “..a comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and social accountability for discrimination on the basis of gender, class, caste, religion, ability, race, tribe, sexual orientation and ethnicity; effective implementation of the provisions of the Supreme Court judgment in NALSA vs Union of India and serious revisions to the currently draconian form of the trans rights bill according to inputs and suggestions by the community; and the reading down of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, repealing of the Karnataka Police Act 36 A and Hyderabad Eunuch Act, anti-beggary, anti-Hijra laws, sedition laws, UAPA and AFSPA, and removal of the marital rape exception from rape laws which should offer redressal to all victims/survivors of sexual assault irrespective of gender.”