At QGraphy, as Photography volunteers during the Queer Azaadi Mumbai Pride walk, we have to run around with our cameras to ensure we do not miss out on any vibrant and significant moment; be it someone waving the rainbow flag, someone dancing to the Nashik dhol or someone simply walking with a placard that shouts – “I AM GAY AND THAT’S OKAY”. While running around, we’ve been stopped by many bystanders and passersby and asked “Bhai, chal kya raha hai?” (What’s happening dude?) We have to thus tell them about the LGBTQ community, about our fight for our rights, about the LGBTQ movement and about being part of the LGBTQ community. Some remain curious, some laugh it out while some join the Pride and walk with us.
Pune, the cultural capital of Maharashtra, witnessed it’s 7th LGBTQ Pride Walk this year with the theme being “an expression of gratitude to friends and families of LGBTQ for their acceptance and support.” Needless to say, QGraphy was there, armed with our cameras to capture moments of Pride in a different city – of course the fight for our rights remain unchanged across India, no matter which city we go to. On the D day of Pride, labels don’t matter. People join the walk from all corners of town (and other cities too). They walk the talk. A large number of slogans were thrown at the onlookers as walkers from the Pride shouted – “Baghtay kay? Samil wha! (don’t just be an onlooker, join in).”
Delhi Queer Pride completed 10 years of Pride this year and their demands were pretty strong and blatant (as they should be) – “anti-discrimination legislation and social accountability for discrimination on the basis of gender, class, caste, religion, ability, race, tribe, sexual orientation, and ethnicity”. Despite the heavy smog, hundreds gathered to show support, be proud and walk their way expressing their freedom to be, who they truly were. The smog fell flat on it’s face as the 10th Delhi Queer Pride shone with vibrance, colour and enthusiasm.
Pride is a protest by the LGBTQ community to tell the world we are not a ‘miniscule minority’. However, being the beautiful community that we are, LGBTQ Pride Walks are all about non- discriminatory and unbiased freedom to be who you truly are – Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or just Queer. The Pride parade is thus, a living, breathing manifestation of the out-and- proud mantra, putting the LGBT community on full display. The often echoed aim for the LGBTQ community for the necessity of a Pride walk is that there is still a lot work that needs to be done. There is still a pending equality for a lot of us and there are people who are scared of coming out fearing societal ‘norms’. Although, the jovial and unrepressed nature of a parade can be inspiring to many who choose to take the streets and walk unabashedly displaying their will and right to be, whoever they wish to be.