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The Future Of Pride Movement In India

Updated: Jan 18


The word ‘Pride’ was consciously chosen to celebrate the struggle, the uniqueness, and the dignity of belonging to the queer of the culture. ‘Pride’ is a celebration of LGBTQ+ culture. Word Pride was first associated with the 1970 LGBTQ+ parade by Craig Schoonmaker, a member of the Christopher Street Liberation Day organizing committee.

History of Pride Parade in India:

While Pride Parades came into existence in the early 1970s, India witnessed its first pride parade in 1999. Since then, it has been 21 years, with almost 21 cities holding pride parades every year. The first Pride Parade took place in Kolkata on 2 July 1999, called the Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk, with just 15 female participants. The parade continued, for almost a decade, until Delhi, Bengaluru and Mumbai joined the bandwagon in 2008. Delhi’s queer pride parade takes place annually on the last Sunday of November, Bengaluru’s Namma Pride Parade takes place mainly in December, while Mumbai’s ‘Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride March’ takes place between January and March.

In 2009-10, the tradition of pride parade entered Chennai, Kerala, and Bhubaneshwar and has been on the trail since then. Pune’s Pride march is the second from Maharashtra to Mumbai. It has been a regular one since 2011. In July 2012, Tamil Nadu’s Madurai held the first ‘Sex Queer Pride Parade’ in South Asia. In 2013, Surat organized Gujarat's first-ever Pride Parade. It was followed by Hyderabad and Chandigarh in the same year, organizing their first Pride Marches: the ‘Hyderabad Queer Pride’ and the ‘Chandigarh LGBT Pride Walk.’ Guwahati participated in the Global Day of Rabies in protest against the overturning of the 2009 verdict on Section 377 and led to the first pride parade in the North East in 2014. Since then, It has been held annually in the first week of February.

After 2015, Nagpur’s first ‘Orange City LGBT Pride March,’ Lucknow’s ‘Awadh Queer Pride,’ Pride de Goa, Dehradun Pride Parade, Gurgaon Pride Parade, Bhopal Pride March, and Queer Gulabi Pride Jaipur also joined. In 2017, the controversial Transgender Persons Bill of 2016 was unanimously condemned by pride parades all over India. The vast rise in the number of pride marches organized each year is due somewhere to the 2009 decision of the Delhi High Court to decriminalize homosexuality, although the judgment was annulled in 2013 reinstating the discriminatory law of colonial times. Thankfully, this blow and opposition did not dishearten the queer community but made them continue the fight only to see the jubilant year of 2018 when the draconian 377 was eventually struck down. The group marched with pride once more, but this time as the country’s comparatively free people.

Struggles Faced

Each year, many LGBT people face enormous problems related to crime, unemployment, bigotry, deprivation, lack of health care, etc. Prejudiced people have concerns about the way LGBT people lead their lives. As the visibility of queer people has increased, hate crimes have also risen– reported and unreported. A lesbian being bound to a tree and beaten in Odisha in May and the frequent attacks on trans-genders in different parts of the country are some of the instances of attack towards these people. Many gay chat apps have caused extortion cases to grow, leveraging the community’s continued stigmatization. While the newfound freedom after Section 377 is essentially a celebration of not being criminal, the freedom that everyone else has is not something close to. They are bullied in schools and universities, discriminated against in the workplace, refused property privileges and health insurance, and, of course, disallowed a marriage that has been legally recognized. The PRIDE movement in India is devoid of directions is the main issue. There is no unified structure incorporating opinions and ideas about what will come next to establish a plan. Hopefully, this is just a break for regrouping.

Pride Movement: Still a Long Way

The LGBT movement has come a long way in India and has made major changes in the understanding and mindset of the country towards members of the LGBT community. Still, investigating the reasons behind it does not do much to help the members of the “third gender”. Currently, this social stigma holds a large section of our community back from asserting their individuality and exercising their rights, so exploring plans and schemes as a turn-back fight is the need of an hour. However, it should be noted that although Section 377 of the IPC, which criminalizes sexual activity that runs against the ‘order of nature’ is still very firm in many places, any changes or implementations made by the Centre or the States will remain incomplete.

Today’s movement is not as cohesive or inclusive enough. It represents the division in which the rest of India lives because societies are divided into equality between the philosophies of human dignity and even along with faith, caste, and class lines. Within the LGBT community, there is a gap in how things are handled between leaders in Mumbai and Delhi. Mumbai has been open to corporate capital, enabling the display of corporate logos at Pride even before Section 377 was read down. In comparison, Delhi has sought to remain independent, collecting money from society. Group members have made their own choices in every city across India, sometimes feeling remote and often even isolated from each other. At the same time, the LGBT community has gained several new-found supporters, from magazines waking up to our fashion quotient to companies, angling for our “pink rupees,” pretending to be inclusive of all kinds of diversity almost overnight. Even some movie celebrities have given support stating how “natural” we are, and that India should allow marriages of the same sex. While these voices matter, they are frequently placed in our fight for liberation with a festive period, rather when the chips are down, and we face the truth of the hatred and suffering inflicted upon the nation. Hence it is a long fight and still will take a long time through the movements to overcome these mindsets.


Akshita Kesharwani is currently pursuing BA.LLB from Alliance University.

They can be contacted at akshitakesharwani06@gmail.com or https://www.linkedin.com/in/akshita-kesharwani-07aa511a4

Edited By: Swathi. Ashok. Nair.


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