Colourful posters exclaiming acceptance, kisses flying in the air and fluttering rainbow flags — the recent Pride parade in the Capital symbolised love in countless forms. Starting from outside Shaheed Bhagat Singh College (SBSC), students marched up till College of Vocational Studies (CVS) in Sheikh Sarai as part of the parade, titled Celebration of who you are and who you love.
The event was organised by Girlup Adira, a feminist collective at SBSC, in collaboration with other societies of Delhi University including Enactus Dyal Singh College, Project Aaina and Girl Up Imkaan. But all wasn’t smooth, as some from the queer community felt that groups with no LGBTQI+ members should not be organising such events. Dev Upreti, a student of BA (Hons) Geography and member of Queer-Feminist Collective at SBSC, opines, “Some people are commodifying the queer movement… Our collective got ratified recently, and we weren’t even asked to be part of this originally, even though we are the ones responsible for representing the concerns of queer individuals.”
On the contrary, some members of the community are of the opinion that all attempts at equality matter. “Parades like this are needed to counter hate… Pride parade is about freedom and love and the underrepresented. But they are also about us having fun. It’s our month — and our clothes, makeup and jewellery represent that,” says Shiv Kumar, a student at Deshbandhu College.
Shashwat, says, “My lilac costume took a lot of effort to be put together, but it was all worth it! I often have to change in the washrooms at the Metro stations, and people stare, point at me and talk. But I love what I’m wearing, and I love who I am in this attire! Though most of my eye makeup had come off because of the unbearable heat (smiles).”
Rahul Kumar, a student at Deshbandhu College, add: “We have come quite far to attend this Pride Parade, the reason being all efforts matter and we want to create as much awareness as we can. Even in a liberal academic environment like DU, we feel homophobia is rampant. There is group of students at who have started a ‘Straight Pride’ that targets members of the queer community, online. Parades like this are needed to counter hate. All these colours we are wearing at the parade, represent us and more.”
On being asked about how arts and visual media helps the inherent homophobia that can be found in an average Indian home? Anupriya, student, BA (Hons) English at Gargi College, says: “Movies help a lot. I watched Badhai Do with my mom. It was uncomfortable but fully worth it! Now her mind has started opening up to new perspectives and it will take a while, but she will get there. Art is a catalyst that helps people make sense of concepts that seem foreign to them. Maybe even my grandmother will understand one day.”
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