June is celebrated as Pride Month in some countries to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 28th June 1969. Stonewall riots were a watershed moment in the history of the LGBT movement. The riots went on to inspire parades across the world, which are now known as gay/LGBT/Queer pride parades. Various Indian cities too hold pride parades (though not all in June).
Gaylaxy brings to you six powerful and inspiring images from the various pride parades that have been held in India over the years.
1. Friendship Walk, Kolkata (1999)
The first ever pride march of India was held in Kolkata in the year 1999 on 2nd of July and was named as Friendship Walk. Some 15 spirited men and women walked down the streets of Kolkata, braving the rains, and talked to people about gay rights. The picture above shows Gay Rights activists Ashok Row Kavi in the front, with Pawan Dhall, an activist from Kolkata, to his right behind him.
(Read extensive coverage of Friendship Walk here)
2. Delhi Queer Pride (2010)
This picture of a Grandmother coming out in support of her grandson Sambhav Sharma was going to be the most striking image of Delhi Queer Pride in 2010. Between 2010 when Dadi first appeared on the queer Delhi scene, until her death in 2016, Dadi made a number of appearances in various TV shows and forums, defending the right of the gay kids, criticisng the judgement of the Supreme Court that reinstated Section 377. Dadi was Dadi not just for Sambhav, but for the entire queer community. She gave out the hope that parental (in fact grand-parental!) acceptance was possible. Sambhav, in a piece that he had written for Gaylaxy in 2012, writes about Dadi’s enthusiasm: “… on the eve of the parade, I remember listening to her talk to the rest of the family about the relevance of participating in the Pride parade… At the parade, she walked all the way from Tolstoy Marg in CP to Jantar Mantar and I was so amazed to see how she single-handedly, and with great confidence, handled the reporters; she had a determined answer for every question that was thrown at her by the media persons.”
We will miss you Dadi.
3. Chennai Pride (2012)
This picture clicked at the Chennai Pride by yours truly would go on to become one of the most widely shared pictures of Gaylaxy. An old father announcing his support for his gay son inspired hope (and may be coming out) within many.
4. Pune Pride (2013)
Police and LGBT community do not share the best of relationships. In India, police personnel are regulalry accused of harrasing the community. It was a police raid in a gay bar that led to the Stonewall Riots of 1969. And it is not everyday that you see a policeman distributing roses to participants of a pride march. “The police officers under Inspector Bhanupratap Barge distributed roses to the queer pride, signaling an offer of friendly cooperation with the queer population,” Gaylaxy had reported in 2013.
5. Delhi Pride (2015)
Children are the future of a country. These school kids from Tagore International School coming out in support of LGBTQ people at the Delhi Queer Pride gives out a ray of hope that the future generations of this country will be more accepting of diversity. This wasn’t the first time that the students were participating in the queer pride parade. They had attended the parade the previous year as well.
6. Hyderabad Pride 2016
Coming out to the family and parents is the hardest, the generation gap making thing difficult for queer people sometimes to make their parents understand what exactly they are going through. Hyderabad Pride broke this barrier with mothers of queer children coming together to express their suppirt and acceptance. “Mothers supporting their queer children led the pride march, exhorting parents to unconditionally love and accept their children!” this Gaylaxy article had stated.