Amritsar city in Punjab hosted its 3rd Pride Parade on June 25th, 2023, with a number of people, specially youngsters, marching holding a rainbow flag and banners. The 1st pride march of the city was held in 2019 and was the initiative of a group of teenagers.

However, the success and popularity of the pride march in the city is also attracting a lot of hate and homophobhic comments. The post announcing the pride parade dates on instagram itself received a lot of backlash and hateful comments, with many calling the LGBTQ movement and march as “dirty” and “sick”.

But a reel of the march posted by the Pride Amirtsar page has been shared by a few other punjabi accounts with a large following. A UK based punjabi account by the handle chalko_rakhlo with close to 550K followers shared the reel and wrote, “What is this happening in Punjab”. Another page with handle zinda__zameer having close to a 1000 followers shared the same reel on its account with a text layover in Punjabi that read: “LGBTQ Pride wind that started from western countries has now reached Punjab’s Amristar too. Their (LGBTQ people’s) count is increasing day by day.”

The comment section in the reels shared by both these pages is filled with hate and abuses, with many sikh and punjabi people (almost all of them men) using abusive words against the community and calling them “Chakka” and “Tempu”, words use to deride and make fun of LGBTQ people. Many of the comments were also about killing gay people, as some wrote “Ajj shakka maaran nu jee karda 🐽❌” (I feel like killing a LGBTQ person).

Punjabi.LGBT, an instagram page that is involved in LGBTQ activism in Punjab, told Gaylaxy, “This shows that punjabi people do not support LGBTQ people at all, and instead abuse them”

Sukhdeep Singh