Delhi’s pride: Despite heavy rains, Capital celebrates first LGBTQ bike parade
People from the LGBTQ community, activists and supporters came out in large numbers to celebrate the day — July 2 — when the High Court of Delhi had repealed section 377 in 2009.Updated: Jul 08, 2017, 22:01 IST
The day, July 2, 2009, marks the date when the Delhi High Court repealed Section 377 that criminalises homosexuality. And a host of Delhiites decided to mark the day this year, with a first-of-its-kind queer bike parade. “This bike pride is more than what it looks at the surface. It stands for the fact that there is space for as much LGBTQIA events as we want. Innovative thinking attracts people. We want to be heard and such events start a conversation,” says Abhishek Saini, co-founder, Those In Need, one of the organisers.
Commenting on what the day means to the participants and members of the community, activist Harsh Agarwal says, “July 2 is a very important day for us because in 2009, the Delhi High Court read down Section 377, decriminalising homosexuality. It means a lot to us — it means equality is possible and diversity can co-exist.”
The path of love is not an easy one, but the thunder and incessant rains couldn’t do much to deter Delhi’s first LGBTQ bike pride parade that took place on Sunday. Organised by Scruff and Those In Need, a not-for-profit organisation and supported by many other NGOs like Azad Foundation and The Humsafar Trust, the parade started from the Qutab Institutional Area and culminated at Hauz Khas Village. Biker groups like Bikerni, Full Throttle, Parindey and Women’s International Motorcycle Association made this event a reality. Agarwal believes that the rain “signifies our struggle. Doesn’t matter what the obstacle, we always move with our struggle. We will still go on, no matter what comes,” he adds. Amid thunder, bikers had a bit of fun by making music by vrooming their bike engines.
The movement has gained momentum over the years, with more people becoming aware and vocal about LGBTQ rights. What has been the change and what brought it about? Activist Yashwinder Singh, who works with The Humsafar Trust, says, “10 or 20 years ago, nobody used to talk about homosexuality, but now at least people are coming out and talking. What matters is societal acceptance. All these people here are agents of change. These baby steps, if taken all over the country, will definitely yield a positive result.”
Devi Banerjee, a biker and social activist from Azad Foundation says that the mindset needs to change and it has to start with the parents. “The society has to understand that this is not unnatural. Awareness should come from home,” she says. And what has made this bike ride different from other bike rides she has been on? “There were no rules for this ride. Also, not all of these people are bikers. They have come for a cause,” she adds.
A participant, who belongs from the community, but doesn’t wish to be named, says this ride gave him a sense of solidarity. “I was never a part of the community like this earlier, but here, I got to open up to a lot of people. It’s a different kind of feeling when you talk to people who understand you. It’s nice being welcomed,” he says.
Another participant and member of the community, Dimple Chaudhary, feels that love shouldn’t be compartmentalised with gender and sexuality roles. “Let love be love,” she says, “This is my first bike ride and I am so thankful to everyone who came here, be it on bikes, car or even on foot. They supported the community.”
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