I am what I am.. and I love it!’ and ‘Why fit in when you were born to stand out?’ were some slogans raised by students from colleges of Delhi as they took over the streets of North Campus in an LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) pride parade. ‘Let’s Stand With Pride’ was organised by IIT Delhi as a part its annual fest Rendezvous on Monday. Students chanted, danced and even participated in a flash mob, which a few opponents tried to stall.
Keeping in mind the theme this year Pehchaan- Finding your identity, the procession commenced from St. Stephens College, accompanied by the infectious beating of dhols, and proceeded towards Hansraj College. The speakers for the day included Anwesh Sahoo (Mr. Gay World India 2016) and Sharif D Rangnekar, lyricist and LGBT Activist.
People are rude and taunt us
Aman Sinha, a student from Ramjas College said, “ People need to embrace their individuality, talk about it, and not make fun. Events like these marches are a good way to encourage people to come out of the closet.” Kshitij, a computer science student studying in Hansraj College narrated an incident, “Once I reached my class with my fingernail painted. The students started laughing and said that the next time I should wear a bindi to go with the painted nail. The stigma attached to homosexuality needs to be dealt with.”
Delhi is growing up
Gaurav Kumar, an MA English student from Delhi University, was happy about the increasing acceptance of the LGBT community in the city. “Thanks to so much of activism and media coverage, the city has become more accommodating and the acceptance levels have risen drastically,” he said. In the end, Sharif addressed the students, “Colleges having gender forums and taking such initiatives is really wonderful. The real issue is the violence the society inflicts on those who have the strength to break away from the norm. Many such incidents are not reported, but the ones coming to light weaken the resolve of others who want to come out, but can’t. Societal pressure gets to them.” Anwesh Sahoo appreciated the Capital’s rising acceptance levels. “People in my college have been really cool about my identity and my pageant win. The fact that we can now organise such parades and declare our sexualities fearlessly proves that Delhi, at some level, has grown up,” he said.