14th edition of Delhi Queer Pride: A fight for equality
The 14th edition of the Delhi Queer Pride parade took place, with participants demanding equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. The parade comes after the Supreme Court denied legal recognition to same-sex couples in October. The court has agreed to review a set of petitions challenging their earlier decision on November 28. Participants at the parade shared their stories and called for legal protection against bullying and discrimination. The parade ended with performances at Jantar Mantar.
The 14th edition of the Delhi Queer Pride kicked off from Barakhamba Road at around 1pm on Sunday with chants of “equal marriage rights” reverberating within minutes.
The first pride parade after the Supreme Court denied legal recognition to same-sex couples in its October 17 judgment — saying only Parliament and state legislatures have the authority to validate marital unions — many participants were dressed as brides and grooms to stress their fight for legal marriage rights. In a decision passed last Thursday, the top court has agreed to look into a set of petitions on November 28, challenging their earlier decision.
“If the law can agree to give us other rights, then why not marital rights? Putting that decision on Parliament is just a way of making sure we never get our full rights,” said Ansh, 19. Dressed like a groom, Ansh said, “Here’s to the hope that same-sex marriage is legalised by the time I am old enough to get married.”
A slogan that commonly sounded was “Humko chahiye azaadi” (we want freedom) as participants danced to the beat of dhols. Among them was Nikhil, 27, dressed in a white crop jacket with sleeves coloured like the Pride flag. His poster read “Bhaut hua love is love. Ab hoga marriage is marriage.” (enough with love is love. Now it is marriage is marriage.)
“I came out to my parents five days ago and this is my first Pride. I am homosexual and I want my rights. It is sad that so many of us still get bullied every day. At least after the law passes, we will be legally protected,” said Nikhil.
Among the 6,000 people who turned up for the parade, everyone had a story to tell. A plethora of posters cropped up in each corner, some supporting Palestine in the Gaza crisis and others asking justice for Arvey and Pranshu — two queer people who died by suicide due to alleged bullying.
Pranshu was a 16-year-old self-taught makeup artist from Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, who died by suicide after his Instagram reel, wearing a saree, received thousands of hate comments. Arvey Malhotra was a class 10 student at the Delhi Public School, who jumped from the top floor of the building where he stayed with his mother in June last year, following severe bullying in school.
“I know what that feels like, whether it is real-life bullying or cyberbullying. I was forced to change schools after my then-best friend forcefully outed me to the entire school. My integrity was questioned. Several of my teammates refused to share a locker room with me, claiming that I might have bad intentions,” said Aishwarya Subramanian, 27, who identifies as pansexual.
“This is exactly why we need a legal system which protects us. People will be forced to educate themselves and, let us be a part of this society.”
The parade that started at Barakhamba Metro station ended at the Jantar Mantar with performances.
Neil, 23, said that the importance of the Pride parade was that it was a fight for everyone. “None of us are free until all of us are free. We stand with all minorities and that is what creates a safer place for all of us. We stand with Palestine. Our fight is against the systemic oppression of all minorities,” said Neil.
The Delhi Queer Pride Committee has 306 members who organise the parade every year. Rishu (who wants to go by his first name), a part of the committee, said, “We just know that justice delayed is justice denied. Now it is not about whether we will get our rights or not, now it is as simple as they have to give us our rights.”