10th Delhi Pride Parade: A short gasp of breath in a choked environment

Thousands of people came together under a smoggy sky for the 10th annual Delhi Queer Pride on Sunday – a remarkable celebration for a community funded event that has thrived for a decade, attracting students, journalists, workers, professionals and academics.

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Smog-filled air in the Capital burst into a riot of colour as the Delhi Queer Pride made its way from Barakhamba Road to Parliament Street on Sunday. Hazardous air fails to dampen the spirit at the 10th edition of Delhi Queer Pride10

It’s a call for people to join it in the march against oppressive attacks and varied forms of discrimination visited upon LGBT community. Queer pride parades around the world are a colourful celebration of the LGBT identity and a demand for equal rights, and Delhi’s 10th annual queer pride parade was no different.

The 1 kilometer march took over two hours, with people carrying rainbow flags, balloons and signs that read “Love is Love,” “Strike down section 377,” and “Keep your laws off my body.” Participants danced to drum beats and raised “azadi” slogans, demanding freedom from homophobia, transphobia and discrimination.

“We cannot wait for the law to accept us because we will lose a lot of people by then, to  drug abuse and depression,” said a man at the parade. “You’re probably losing your son and daughter to them being homosexual and you being a homophobe. Educate yourself.” “We are expressing our right to live with dignity. The attitude of the society towards us has to change.”

The crowd sang, danced and celebrated as people from all walks of life, identifying with different sexual orientations and genders got together at Delhi’s Barakhamba metro station to march till Jantar Mantar.

Our list of demands include:

  • Hate crime legislation that conceptualises all forms of anti-minority violence as specifically punishable offences.
  • 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.
  • Read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, repeal Karnataka Police Act 36 A and Hyderabad Eunuch Act, anti-beggary, anti-Hijra laws, sedition laws, UAPA and AFSPA, and remove the marital rape exception from rape laws which should offer redressal to all victims/survivors of sexual assault irrespective of gender.

Johnson, a Chennai-based activist, who was in Delhi to attend his first pride parade said, “This is like coming out for us. We are expressing our right to live with dignity. The attitude of the society towards us has to change.”

“We’re fighting for the right of everybody in this country to live as an equal citizen, which means that everybody should be able to live their life the way they want to,”

A nine-judge bench of the Supreme Court in August ruled that the right to privacy is a fundamental right, that it is intrinsic to life and liberty and comes under Article 21 of the constitution. While the judgment will have far reaching implications on a range of government policies and actions, it will also impact the status of existing laws to the extent to which they violate a citizen’s right to privacy – a fundamental right as per the court’s landmark ruling.

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