Delhi took over the streets of Connaught Place with rainbow flags to celebrate love and inclusiveness this Sunday on the 24th of November, 2019. This year’s Delhi Queer Pride Parade witnessed a footfall of over 1000 LGBTQ+ community members, supporters and allies. The procession had a dual motive wherein the participants marched the streets to fight homophobia as well as spread inclusivity. Having said that, something that was of utmost importance this time was to show their dissent for the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019.
The parade flagged off at the intersection of Barakhamba Road and Tolstoy Marg. While the ‘Azaadi’ slogans reverberated behind the spectrum, this year the parade witnessed strong opinions on various agendas hitting our contemporary society. Voices were raised against the ‘Hindutva’ ridden government, people’s struggles in Kashmir and climate change. Posters demanding justice for JNU students were also in sight.
Behind the hues of the rainbow, were cries of the LGBTQ+ community members protesting against the Trans Bill 2019. The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 contradicts the rights and protections laid out in the Supreme Court’s NALSA verdict 2014.
The bill upholds discriminatory and humiliating provisions such as the process of applying to the district magistrate for legal recognition of one’s transgender identity followed by a horrific process of proving it.
The bill also postulates that acts of sexual violence against transgender people are to be punished with an imprisonment of 6 months to 2 years. This is a discriminatory clause in comparison with the imprisonment of 7 years for acts of sexual violence against women. Neither does the bill give any reservations to this part of the LGBTQ+ community in the education and employment sector, nor does it provide any medical and health care benefits to the same.
These discriminatory provisions of the bill were highly criticized and protested against. Alongside the chants of ‘Jai Satrangi, Jai Bheem’, posters with slogans against homophobia and trans bill 2019 were also flashed. Bollywood songs such as ‘Khulam Khula Pyaar kerenge Hum Dono. Iss Duniya Se Nahi Daarenge Hum Dono’, also echoed at the site.
The streets were filled with colourful balloons, flags, drum rolls and chants while people smiled, laughed, hugged and danced in this celebration of love.
People from all age groups participated with zest and fervour in the commemoration of love and its forms. Many students from Delhi University and other universities were also a part of the event.
“It was my first pride and man was it amazing! The positive vibes and the feels got me. However I don’t appreciate the inclusion of politics in something meant to celebrate love and LGBTQ+ rights” said Devak, a student from Kiori Mal College, Delhi University.
“It was an amazing experience of different colours coming up all together under one flag. There were more people than last time and the enthusiasm was double. Whenever I’m at the pride parade, it just makes me happy.” added Lohitaksh Kapoor. He is a law student who identifies himself as a queer.
The Delhi Queer Pride Parade is that time of the year when the LGBTQ+ community members step out on the streets to remind the country that they will not let homophobia suppress their true identities.
The parade terminated at Jantar Mantar with splendid performances by the participants.
Featured Image Source – Hindustan Times