2nd February 2019, a vibrant Saturday evening the queer community of Mumbai took the streets by storm. It was the first pride in Mumbai after the supreme court decriminalized homosexuality in the country. The energy was unparalleled, the vibe was rainbow and the only theme was love and acceptance.
Whoever said that “the gays are loud” boy were they right, the enthusiasm could be heard from a mile away. The extravagant dress code left the crowd around awestruck. The warmth made you feel like it was right where you belong, the parade was not only welcoming to the people of the community but also the allies and the supporters of the cause felt right at home with the warmth. The crowd was so overwhelming that the very first step into the parade gave you chills, the good kinds.
The parade is a celebration of culture, not only the queer culture but also our Indian heritage. Drag queens wore Sarees and Ghagras. From guys wearing kurtas to girls wearing Lungis the parade had bits and pieces of our culture but in a rather unique gender-stereotype-breaking way. With Puneri style dhol being the main source of music and everyone dancing, making the streets of Mumbai a dance floor, it only shows that irrespective of sexual/gender preferences if there is a Dhol beating Mumbaikars will dance. Chanting in several Indian languages, the parade gave a glimpse of diversity in India whilst propagating equality.
“Taru Maru Same che, Prem che Prem che.” In gujrati Becomes “Tumcha Amcha Same aste, Prem aste Prem aste.” In marathi. All of which mean the same thing “Love Is Love.”
From doctors chanting about treating all their patients equally to politicians screaming for equal opportunities for all irrespective of their sexual or gender identity, many professions attempted to manifest their support for the community and their pride.
But nothing tops the group of mothers that went around giving hugs to the people of the community that are deprived of the mother’s hug after their parents disowning them because of the sexual or gender preferences. This group of mothers was chanting “Jaise bhi hai ache hai, ye sab humare Bache hai.” Which meant that irrespective of their lifestyle they are good and they are our kids. Making the people of the community feel loved. Many eyes started tearing up by this because not only the society but also people’s own parents not only disrespect them but also never attempt to understand or accept their identity.
With 377 abolished, the main themes for activism were marriage equality, right to adopt, privilege to be treated normally by medical institutions and most importantly loads of respect from the society.
Every year few of the questions that I get asked when pride is around the corner are, “Is this really necessary? Why every year? Do the gays have to do it?.” The answer is Yes. Yes, it is necessary, every year! Yes, the gays have to do it.
It is not about dressing up just walking around the streets, it is about being represented, being loved, being accepted. The gays have to do it so that the word “gay” is no more a slur, but rather a celebration in itself. It is done to be seen, so that if there is a little girl who wants to a little boy or young boy who wants to wear what his sister is wearing or a man who likes looking at men when everyone else is trying to set him up with a girl, look up to the community’s pride parade and realize that maybe this is not wrong.
Maybe for once, a young soul doesn’t have to go through hell realizing that he/she might just be a little different from his/her peers. And its alright to be different. Maybe for once, someone out there feels proud of being oneself and absolutely shattered about being a little different.
Picture Courtesy: Gautam Kathuria