Ah, November in Delhi. The next-to-last month of the year brings with it exam time for college students, dangerous levels of air pollution, and — in a surge of color and slogans — Delhi Queer Pride.
This year’s event marked a decade of queer pride in Delhi, ten years characterized by struggle and love as the rights of queer and trans people, women, and other minorities took a roundabout journey. This year was full of both brutality and hope, evidenced in the placards and slogans of the march which drew attention to both LGBT rights and to the struggles of women and other minority communities. In the wake of increased lynching of Indian Muslims under the influence of right-wing fear-mongering, explosive movements against sexual harassment in universities, an ongoing struggle to ensure women’s right to choose spouse and religion, the pride march indicated the fundamental interrelatedness of LGBT rights and other struggles of oppressed people for justice and dignity.
This year’s platform reflected these interrelated struggles, calling for not only the repeal of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code — which outlaws “carnal acts against the order of nature,” including all non-heterosexual penis-in-vagina intercourse — but for the repeal of sedition laws, draconian anti-terrorism acts used to harass dissidents (Unlawful Activities Prevention Act), and the Armed Forces Special Power Act (AFSPA) which gives broad and much-abused powers to the Indian military in Kashmir and the Northeast region of the country. The Delhi Queer Pride Committee demanded comprehensive anti-discrimination and anti-hate crime legislation. Finally, they demanded “effective implementation” of the Supreme Court’s landmark 2014 NALSA judgement, which gives comprehensive protections to transgender people but which has yet to be seriously enforced.
This platform reflects ongoing debates about the meaning of Pride and the broader direction of the queer movement in India: debates about corporate funding versus grassroots activism, relating gender and sexuality to state violence and militarization, and the erasure of gender nonconforming and trans bodies in queer spaces. These are debates many of us are familiar with from our own contexts, and represent the ongoing tensions that are inevitable in a robust and growing movement.
Happy Pride to all! You can check out coverage of the Pride at The Wire, including Karnika Koli’s colorful photos of the celebration here.
Cover photo credit: IndiaTimes
Powered by WPeMatico