Tolstoy Marg was smeared with rainbow colours on Sunday, during the first Queer Pride Parade since the repeal of IPC Section 377 that decriminalised gay sex among consenting adults, as thousands from the LGBT+ community thronged to assert their rights. While celebrating the milestone, many said more equality was needed in terms of gay marriage and adoption rights.
Among the colourful costumes, rainbow-coloured balloons and flags, were posters reading ‘Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy’. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had recently faced backlash from a section of users accusing him of “Hinduphobia” and “inciting violence” after he was seen holding the poster in a photo.
The parade reverberated with Bollywood songs as people sang and danced to drum beats and whistles.
Ashwani Kumar, a transwoman and a call centre employee, had put together a top made entirely of rainbow-coloured ribbons hanging from a piece of cloth. “This is my first pride march in Delhi; I shifted from Varanasi a couple of months ago. I have come out to my parents, but I find it’s not easy for everyone else to do so. The repeal of Section 377 has helped our community greatly. But much more needs to be done in terms of gay marriage and adoption rights,” she said, adding that she still faces taunts from her co-workers.
A gay man from Lucknow, who wished to remain anonymous, had come to the capital only for the parade. “There are many misconceptions about gay people, and we are often looked down upon… Decriminalising gay sex is the first step, but gay marriage and child adoption should be the logical next step,” he said.
Two sisters, aged 24 and 22, studying in Delhi University said they hadn’t come out to their parents because of the stigma attached. The elder one, who identifies as a lesbian, said, “For me to tell my parents, there has to be a large acceptance by society which is still missing. As we get more rights, we will probably gain that.” Her younger sister, who thinks she “may be asexual”, said, “There is very little known about asexuality, and a lot of people confuse it with celibacy. There isn’t even much on the internet. There needs to be greater awareness.”
Among those carrying the ‘Smash Brahmanical Patriarchy’ posters was law teacher Gautham Gowthaman. “The two are linked. I think the LGBT community can be free only when they are free from all kinds of oppression, including patriarchy and caste. Caste also prescribes who you should marry and shouldn’t marry, something that the LGBT community has been fighting against,” he said.