Delhi Queer Pride 09!
For the Second Year Running, on July 28, 2009, Delhi gets set to celebrate Queer Pride! Queer Pride is our celebration. It is about loving who we are, whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, hijra or straight, and affirming everyone's right to be respected for their own sexuality and identity. It’s as much an expression of the everyday struggles for dignity and respect as it is a celebration of our diversity and an acknowledgment that this diversity is a gift.
Queer is a term that has a history of being reclaimed from being a derogatory term to refer to same-sex desiring and gender-transgressive persons to one that has empowered and brought people together to fight for their rights. In the Indian context among others, the list L-G-B-T cannot ever be exhaustive as we have many local identities such as kothi, hijra, men who have sex with men (MSM) and so on. There are so many others who cannot or do not want to fit within any of these identities. Newer names come up everyday as human life and desires keep changing. Queer then refers to any person who questions norms of gender sexuality irrespective of what their sexual or gender identity maybe. It is also used as an umbrella term to cover different sexuality and gender expressions. Besides, if we were to do an exhaustive list of them, that would be a leaflet in itself!
With the Queer Pride, we step forward to celebrate that diversity. To acknowledge the changes, and to understand how many miles more we have to go.
Queer Pride as an event dates back to the early morning of 29th June 1969 when police in New York City raided a gay bar called the Stonewall Inn. That night, the gay men and drag queens refused to be cowed down, and fought back. The Stonewall riots lasted for five days and from then on became of a symbol of Queer Pride and resistance to oppression.
Today in India, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people face harassment from the police. Lesbians are subject to violence, forced into marriage and even driven to commit suicide by their families. Gay men are blackmailed by organized rackets that often involve the police. Hijras are routinely arrested and raped by the police. Same sex couples who have lived together for years cannot buy a house together or will their property to each other without being challenged by their families. Neither can they adopt a child if they wish so as a couple.
All this is possible because Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code treats LGBT people as criminals. It has been used to arrest, prosecute, terrorize and blackmail sexual minorities. It has strengthened the already existing stereotypes, hatred and abuse in homes, schools, workplaces and streets, forcing millions of LGBT people to live in fear and silence at tragic cost to themselves and their families. And yet, these lives go on. They go on as a struggle every single day.
On June 28th, 2009 Queer people in Delhi will join other cities across India, to break this silence and to splash the colours of our lives, our diversity on the streets of Delhi.
Join us at 5:30 pm on Sunday, June 28th, 2009. The March starts at the Corner of Barakhamba Road and Tolstoy Marg, will continue along Tolstoy Marg and end at Jantar Mantar.
For more information about Delhi Queer Pride ‘09: delhiqueerpride.blogspot.com.