First post-pandemic Pride Parade after 3 years in Delhi

For ‘Love & Equality’, thousands unite in seven colours of pride


January 9, 2023

/ By / New Delhi

First post-pandemic Pride Parade after 3 years in Delhi

After a gap of three years, the much-awaited Queer Pride Parade in Delhi kicked off on Sunday (Photo: Mohsina Malik)

After a gap of three years, the much-awaited Queer Pride Parade kicked off on Sunday afternoon in the national capital. Thousands of LGBTQ persons as well as volunteers, from different states of India attended the march towards Jantar Mantar.

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Despite the bitter cold and severe fog that has enveloped large parts of northern India and Delhi, Barakhamba Road, near Connaught Place, wore a cheerful look on Sunday afternoon as thousands of people, hailing from all over the country, had gathered there, dressed in multi-coloured costumes and faces painted with vibrant colours holding rainbow flags, to participate in the first Pride Parade to be held in Delhi since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic three years ago. Perhaps to add to the cheer and the warmth that prevailed here, even the sun had managed to break through the fog, completing the picture of an ideal Sunday afternoon in the winter.

“I was super excited to hear that the pride walk is again taking place in the national capital after gap of three years. I have come all the way from Chandigarh to attend my first pride walk, which I have never experienced in my whole life even though I belong to the transgender community,” Amisha, a 25-year-old participant from Chandigarh at Delhi’s Queer Pride Parade, tells Media India Group.

“I have never expressed my inner-self to the outer world after facing so much humiliation from my close friends. I am here to protest that whatever we as an individual and community face in our daily lives and tell the world we also exist,” adds Amisha.

Walking towards Jantar Mantar, many of the participants were dancing to the beats of music and expressing their happiness and excitement. Some raised slogans like ‘Say no to transphobia, and we want freedom’.

After taking a few breaks in order to let the people mingle with each other and also the onlookers, the Parade reached Jantar Mantar. At each halt enroute, the participants put forth their demands and asked that they should be fulfilled by the government. Their main demands concerned legalisation of same-sex marriages, an end to discrimination against them and most importantly the acceptance in the society.

“I am disabled. Both my legs are paralysed. But I am here today to show my pride and be a part of this celebration of my identity,” says Amy Chauhan, a transgender from Delhi.

“I had a sex change surgery a few years back. I wanted to be what I am, not what others wanted. I struggled but today despite that I am a transgender and disabled, I work in the HDFC bank,” she adds.

“Being a non-binary, I have always fought for acceptance not only for me but for the Dalit queers as well because the community has been suppressed in many ways not in terms of gender only but the right to education, jobs and other things. I am here to raise my voice against such discrimination and denial of rights from the so-called government who have always made fake promises,” says Adam Strange, a non-binary and a student at Delhi University.

In 2008, the first ever pride parade took place, where only a few hundred people had gathered. Over the years, it has metamorphosed into a massive celebration for queer people in the city. The annual parade was put on halt due to the pandemic in the year 2020.

“I identify myself as a lesbian and have been a part of the pride parade for a long time. I am seeing a huge change in the number of participants. It is good to see such a crowd and new faces after three years. The significance of pride parade is not only about protesting against the exclusion and ill-treatment of LGBTQ communities from the society. It is moreover talking about the rights of people who belong to different religions, caste and region. It is about voicing the voiceless and asking for the rights that we have been denied and importantly it is a protest against the discrimination we face every day as a citizen of India,” says Noor, who has been a volunteer since 2010 at Delhi Pride Parade and is a publicist.

“If we talk about our communities we have always been seen as individuals who indulge in prostitution which is wrong. Such generalisation cannot be tolerated. We have an identity and we love what we are,” says Sagar Rastogi, a queer at Delhi Pride Parade.

Naaz Joshi counters and points at the circumstances that lead a person to such a situation. “Nobody wants to be in such a profession, it is the society and rejection by them that pushes a person in that. Long-time, ago, I was abandoned by my family after I revealed my identity to them. I went to Mumbai where I took up odd jobs. After years of struggle, I funded my education and sustained it. Now I am living a good life, what is important is educating others about the communities, acknowledging what is the right of everyone as an individual, and support from the family is very much important in this case,” says Joshi, a transgender who is a Miss Universe Diversity, a transgender woman and is a Ted Talks speaker.

Many of the participants were accompanied by their parents who came as a sign of support and love for their children what they identified as.

The parents who accompanied their children in the pride parade said that we are accompanying our children to tell other parents if their children identify themselves among the LGQBT community. We should not silence or abandon them, accept them for what they are as it is just a gender not a disease. We should support and love them in every possible way so that they do not feel alienated.

As the sunset, the marchers began to disperse at Jantar Mantar to return home after a successful demonstration. As the participants were about to leave, there stood a  Kashmiri man holding a samovar (a copperware kettle) offering Kehwa, saying, “It is a gesture of love towards you all and the supporters who have come here.’’




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