The city is once again getting ready to drape itself in rainbow colors as members and supporters of the Chandigarh LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer) community come together to express their solidarity for equal rights irrespective of gender orientations this Sunday. This has been taking place every year, on the first Sunday of March.
The LGBTQ community of Chandigarh will organise the fourth edition of its annual Chandigarh Pride Walk on Sunday.
This year, after having sought permission from Panjab University, the Pride Walk will commence from the Students’ Centre at PU at 3 PM on Sunday, and will conclude at the Plaza, Sector 17. “We want the students and youth of Chandigarh to be actively involved in this campaign for equality, which is why the walk is scheduled to commence from the Students’ Centre. Consequently, we will reach the Sector 17 Plaza and spread awareness among the residents of Chandigarh to help us in this fight for justice for people of the LGBTQ community,” Chauhan added.
Coincidentally, each year, the Chandigarh Pride Walk takes place around the International Women’s Day, on March 8, which spreads the message of creating a society that provides equal rights to women.
“We, the members of Chandigarh’s LGBTQ community also consider ourselves feminists and believe in equality for men and women alike, irrespective of gender orientations,” said Dhananjay Chauhan, director of Sakhsham Trust, a community-based organisation that leads the Pride Walk each year.
With as many as 500 participants expected this year, the Pride Walk is happening on a larger scale than before. Students and teachers from Panjab University, IISER and Chitkara University, representatives of student organisations like NSUI and SOI, members of the Rotaract Club, Chandigarh, and representatives of several community-driven NGOs are going to participate in the walk for Chandigarh’s LGBTQ community. Aawaz, a group of students from Chitkara University that works for the rights of minorities, is also going to demonstrate a skit demanding dignity for same-sex relationships and marriages.
The focus of the Pride Walk is on urging the Supreme Court to repeal Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality in India. In February this year, the Supreme Court had agreed to re-examine Section 377 by referring it to a five-bench panel, bringing a ray of hope for the Indian LGBTQ community.
“We are all proud to be Indians and deserve to be provided with the freedom to love anyone, irrespective of our sexual orientation. Our dream is to make Chandigarh a city that is not at all homophobic and celebrates gender diversity,” added Narender, a resident of Chandigarh.