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Members of the LGBTQ community during a Pride March through central Mumbai on 2nd February, 2019. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint
Members of the LGBTQ community during a Pride March through central Mumbai on 2nd February, 2019. Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint

Is it really #PrideForAll?

  • We asked participants at the Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride March on 2 February if the theme of this year’s march, #PrideForAll, resonated with them 

“This celebration of Section 377 was something I could not relate to. How is Section 377 being decriminalized helping gay couples or lesbian couples at the grass-roots level? How is it helping those in villages and towns be safe? It is just one law. During the Pride, some of the attendees were following us, taking videos and posting them on social media, mocking us for talking against Ram Mandir, caste and class. It is only #PrideForAll if you do not assert your anti-caste, anti-Hindutva politics."

SITAMSINI, 21, Member, Bebaak Collective

Many queers are blind to the oppression of other queers by virtue of their caste, race, class, social location, the language they have access to, their education.... These intersections are never looked at by these people. Queer Bahujans who have asserted their identities have been pushed aside all the time and the same happened this year too. For us, #PrideForAll means a pride where our intersectional identities are also taken into account.

CHAND, 22, MA student in development studies, TISS

The theme is very appropriate, we are the same people under different skins, it doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are. We all look for love, we all have the same emotions. It is about love at the end of the day.

VARUN SHINDE, 35, Second runner-up, Mr Gay India 2019

Well, I hope it is #PrideForAll. Through this theme, we might be looking for a glimmer of light at the end of a tunnel.... I feel we are getting there. We still have miles to go before we achieve a complete inclusive space.

ANIRUDDHA, 30, Founder of Instagram handle @TheGuysexual

We were the only group in the whole parade who spoke about the trans Bill, anti-trafficking Bill, surrogacy, and citizenship Bills. Also, how can we talk about queer issues in India without talking about the Brahminical oppression operating here over centuries? How can I bracket myself and go as just a queer person, when I am an Adivasi queer person?

CHRISTY, 27, Research scholar at TISS

It’s more of an aspirational thing. We want #PrideForAll and we are not saying we have already achieved it. Right now, in this space, it looks like #PrideForAll, but as soon as you leave the parade and go back to your regular life, then no, it is not #PrideForAll any more.

ANGELIQUE, 22, Sociology student at the University of Mumbai

The people who know about the Pride March are already privileged, coming from a certain background, be it caste or class. The message/medium through which the Pride March is promoted is not accessible to many. The sad part of this parade is that there are not many protesting against the regressive transgender Bill nor holding trans rights posters. Basically, people here are not vocal about intersectional queer society.

PRIYANKA PAUL, 20, Illustrator

As told to Divya Kandukuri

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