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Delhi Queer Pride Is Tomorrow, But Check Out All The Events That Led Up To It!

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When Delhi Queer Pride (DQP) started out, nine years ago, in 2008, it was a small celebration of diversity in the face of incredible odds, created by the presence of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. And over the years, if the law is a symbol of violent prejudice against the queer community, then Pride has become a symbol of political resistance. As also a place of camaraderie, community, friendship and love.

The Pride of today has ballooned into a multifaceted celebration, spanning the whole month of November. And every year a voluntary Pride committee meets to organize the march and all the events that lead up to it.

In Delhi, Pride Month kicked off with a Fundraiser on November 5. A popular lounge was all booked for the night, and the dance floor was anyone’s for the taking. Long time Pride-goer and Delhi-based artist Ipshita came to the fundraiser for the first time, after hearing about it through word of mouth. She said: “It was the perfect excuse to meet friends from the community I rarely get to see offline, as well as to bump into new faces.”

She found it easier to make conversation there (as opposed to at Pride where you’re marching and singing and sloganeering) and looks forward to fundraisers that involve and encourage local talent.

Following this was the queer community’s day in the sun on Nov. 20. The Pride Picnic traditionally happens on the Sunday before the March, as folks gather at the Bada Gumbad, inside Delhi’s famed Lodi Gardens. Pride organizers bring the cardboard sheets, paints and markers, and everyone else brings their enthusiasm and creativity, and this year saw a great turn out. Tariq, a software engineer from Delhi, said “the best part was the cross pollination of ideas amongst us as we discussed what we wanted the posters to say, and the fact that people from all over the spectrum ideated over intersectional politics and policy.

The Picnic also coincided with Transgender Day of Remembrance. While many of the names were read with a heavy heart, activists Karthik Bittu and Gautam Bhan reminded the gathering to think of the day as one where we are all rejoined by trans friends and family who are no longer with us.

In between these events were the ‘LBT parties’ – specifically for queer women, trans men and trans*masculine folks. Invitations were sent privately via email and WhatsApp, and the party took the form of a potluck dinner, hosted at the home of someone from the community. It’s no secret that most queer spaces continue to be dominated by men, even if only in terms of numbers. So to have women-centred events like this has been an important way of challenging gender-based hierarchies in the community, as well as building solidarity and friendship between queer women.

What I liked most about these events was being around the fam – SO many queers in one place has always been such a high!” So says Nick, “coder extraordinaire” and non-binary transboy, who has been attending Pride events for six years, and compares Pride to Diwali or Christmas for queer people. For him, “hanging out with friends and making really bad puns and annoying people” makes for a great time. And the Open Mic Night on Nov. 25 proved to be just that.

Folks gathered in the fairy-lights-strewn lawns of Max Mueller Bhavan for an evening of solo singing acts, an amazing hula-hoop dance routine, a queer rendition of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” and more, while a constant stream of hot snacks, chai and coffee were being served at the venue. This year’s programme also included a performance by members of Indian Aces, an up-and-coming asexuality collective.

Nishtha, a young working professional who identifies as bisexual, called it “an evening of such diverse, badass queer performances.” She went on to say this “warm celebration of non-normative desires and bodies in all their glory shows how much more inclusive and beautiful this year’s parade will be!

At DQP events, the objective is to have fun and be yourself. But you never lose sight of what it means to have a community and draw strength from it, and it’s always something to look forward to.

Recalling the first Pride event he went to after coming out, Nick said “I can still taste the euphoria and sense of freedom on my tongue. It’s important now, for us to come to these events and support them, support the community. Not just for ourselves but also for those still discovering themselves.

We at Cake too have been celebrating Pride Month in our own way and will most definitely be joining the beautiful march. Hope to see you there!

While the Pride march will be over on Nov. 27, 2016, this ‘Queer Season’ will continue into the first week of December, with Queer Conversations and Closing Night.

Featured Image Source: Delhi Queer Pride/Facebook & Twitter.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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