September 6, 2018, marked an iconic day as the Supreme Court abolished Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, decriminalising the LGBTQ+ community, leaving most people elated across the country. The court ruling was crucial for not just the fundamental rights of individuals but for a more inclusive, harmonious society. This June, India celebrates International Pride Month for the first time.
This year also shows a higher participation in celebration of gay pride, ever since it has been legalised. From parades to social media posts, people across all platforms are extending support and encouragement towards the community and spreading the core message of the movement: Love is love.
Here are a few ways people in the nation, as well as Indians abroad are participating and doing their part to make the community feel safer:
Classic celebratory parades
Flaunting colourful garb and with rainbow coloured flags waving in the air, the streets of various cities are sprinkled with people as they celebrate the message of inclusivity and LGBTQ+ pride.
Pune celebrated its ninth pride parade on June 2, 2019, as nearly 600 people marched across town with signs, rejoicing the festivities. The parade began at the Sambhaji Park and grazed through JM Road, FC Road and Shirole Road, circling back to the point of commencement.
A first, the parade was attended by an openly gay couple, Sameer Samudra and Amit Gokhale. One could also see the smiling face of the members of “Sweekar”, a collective of parents who help each other accept their children’s sexuality.
Moving south, Chennai is savouring their celebrations slowly with an entire month of planned events. Organised by the umbrella organisation Tamil Nadu Rainbow Coalition, the 11th Rainbow Pride Series will include cultural performances, workshops on mental health, sexuality and gender-identity sessions, plays, film exhibitions and a palette of other activities.
The series is set to close Pride month in grand fashion with a parade on June 30, 2019.
Innovative Information Access through Wikipedia Editathon
Information access is reduced to a few clicks on the internet with the seemingly never-ending resources it provides. Undoubtedly, Wikipedia is the most popular site for research albeit not very trust-worthy. Feminism in India, Gaylaxy magazine and India HIV/ AIDS alliance make a collaborative effort to eradicate the ignorance. With their fourth edition of Pride Wikipedia Editathon, they recognise the popularity of Wikipedia and strive to improve the quality of content on the pages providing content on pride and queer activists. The editathon will work towards adding and editing pages and citations in order to produce better data on the website.
At the event, participating members will be briefed with an introduction on how to create, edit or cite pages on Wikipedia. Following the introduction will help (individually or in groups) work on pages, following a pre-made list of activists. People without any prior knowledge of editing Wikipedia can also partake in the event. Lunch and beverages will be served at the site.
The event will take place on June 15, 2019 from 10.30 am to 5 pm at 6 Community centre, Zamrudpur, Kailash Colony Extension, New Delhi 110048.
Book your tickets here to ensure your entry for the event.
Celebratory Messages on Social Media Platforms
The internet is not just a source of information acquirement but also plays a strong role in dissemination of information, opinions and comments. If there is a happening, the internet has a voice for it. People have used that voice and in the past week, the internet has been stormed with messages of love and support for the LGBTQ+ community. Platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are blowing up with comments of members and non-members of the community alike, taking part in the festivities of Pride month.
In a cheerful twist of events, a tweet by brain scientist Jiwandeep Kohli has gone viral, even attracting the attention of former US President Barack Obama. The tweet features an image of Kolhi wearing a rainbow coloured turban and proudly portraying his bisexuality. To this, Obama responded with the tweet thanking Kohli and complimenting the turban.
You've got a lot to be proud of, Jiwandeep. Thanks for everything you do to make this country a little more equal. Turban looks great, by the way. Happy Pride Month, everybody! https://t.co/SO7mgnOkgl— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) June 4, 2019
In addition to the various comments by people across India as well as other countries, Google Doodle has come up with a doodle for pride month depicting iconic moments of LGBTQ+ pride across 50 decades.
Embassies in India Wave the Rainbow Flag
Prior to the Trump administration, all US embassies around the world were granted permission to hoist rainbow coloured flags to honour Pride month celebrated every June. However, this year the embassies have been denied the right to do so by the state departments. Unhappy about this, the US embassies in Chennai and Delhi have trumped the disapproval and found their own ways to bring colour to their buildings.
The entrance of the US embassy at the Delhi is lit up with rainbow coloured lighting to celebrate Pride, while the Chennai counterpart has defied the denial completely with a massive rainbow colour flag hoisted above the country emblem.
Love Matters India brings to you personal stories
India’s leading online sexual and reproductive health information platform, Love matters India is celebrating Pride for an entire week from June 10 to June 16 2019 with their campaign “#AgarTumSaathHo: Celebrating Support, Acceptance and Allyship”. With this campaign, the platform will display stories of support and acceptance that people have received or extended towards members of the community. Their mission is to extend knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community and also encourage acceptance of the community in the society to create a harmonious bond between those who are and those who are not a part of the LGBTQ+.
During the campaign, they will also host a letter writing workshop, where one can write letters of support to any person with whom they wish to communicate. This workshop, in collaboartion with The Goodwill Tribe and 91springboard, will be hosted in four places- Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Goa on June 15, 2019.