This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by The Egoist Poststructuralist. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Who Owns Pride?

More from The Egoist Poststructuralist

How Do You Create A Genealogy For Pride?

You can’t write the history of Pride, because a lot has happened.

Back in the Nazi regime hundreds and thousands of papers about sexuality and gender were burned at “The Institute of Sexology”. Further back, when colonizers colonized America and the Africas, their first reaction was to kill anything queer. The indoctrination of tribes in the ways of Christianity helped in the suppression of the queer identity.

Nazi-sympathizing students burn books on LGBTQ sexuality and gender from the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft ( Institute for the Science of Sexuality) founded by Jewish gay man Magnus Hirschfeld

Hundreds of stories have been lost to colonization, to religion, to people trying to control lives. Folklores, where we played a central role, have been erased too. Few people, if any, in India remember the spiritual and the historical contextuality of the Hijra and Kinnar movements. How they were the ones blessed by Lord Rama to be the only gender genuinely truthful, or how Islamic tradition has for ages recognized the queer as holy.

What Happened?

Tradition in the queer community is very important. Mostly, because when we enter into this community, we’re often reminded that we’re cutting down roots. But, are we really?

Every queer person of color can walk back into the oldest of traditions and find that queer stories were being told. Polyamory is glorified in texts like Mahabharata. Greek mythos shares many stories with queer identities. Even early Christianity has stories which corroborate this fact.

One of the stories is about a Roman Centurion asking Jesus to help cure his slave, except the term slave isn’t used, the words from an ancient language that’s used shares an etymology with “partner”. Jesus cures the partner of the Centurion and says that the Centurion’s faith was the strongest.

To see it going south, we’d have to trace the state oppression of the queer personality. Procreation has been one of the ways states raised their hegemonic power. So, using religion, subverting it to their wills, the state decided to outlaw pleasure, and freedom, creating a narrative where no one could go beyond the act of procreation. Tribes, where the act of procreation was a normal part of life, and pleasure and desire was celebrated, were told that desire is the tool of the devil.

Part of the mythology extends itself to our interpretation of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden too. Even though there was no sin associated with humankind back then, different interpretations and Victorian plays try to play it through a lens of shame. Certain texts portray clothing as a liberation for the Biblical characters, while the original texts make no mention of that.

The queerest of identities were taken away and turned into a weapon of the state, through a lens of shame, and literature and movements collaborate that.

Who Owns Pride?

It has been 50 years since a trans woman said “no” and threw bricks at cops at the Stonewall Inn. The culture of shame had been so ingrained in our populace by that time, that when Marsha was killed some years afterward, no one said a word.

Crowds clash with police during the Stonewall riots in 1969. Image via Getty

It moved on, life moved on, and Pride became the mainstay for everything cis and white.

For something that rose out of a desire to not be owned by the state, Pride is still exclusionary in many places. We’ve Pride after parties at Five-Star hotels, inaccessible to the poor trans people, Pride fests which have accessibility barriers for any person with a disability.

The truth is Pride is also governed by the straight bias that has governed the colonized world for centuries. The cis-sexual, heterosexual narrative holds its sway on Pride too, with trans people, flamboyance, everything being excluded, with the people asking for an apolitical Pride.

You see, queer bodies might’ve started Pride, but, over the years, the cisheteropatriarchy has tried to control every aspect of it again and again. Ever since the neoliberal narrative took over Pride, corporations have had a stake in controlling the market around Pride.

Today international MNCs have more power over Pride marketing techniques than as queer persons, and that’s a reminder of how Pride itself pushes queer people away.

Then?

Then, we fight back. In countries like India, where Pride hasn’t yet been fully co-opted, we create our narratives ourselves. We eulogize our own. We create comics, we create tradebacks, we create stories after stories telling everything we have.

We get beaten up by the police, we get excluded from medical institutions, and we rise again and again.

Who owns pride? We do.

The messy version is the one we own. The one where we fight every year. The Pride where queers are as divided in their opinions as every human has the right to be, but, also, the Pride where they march together for each other. We own a multitude of opinions; we own the violence against us. We own each brick thrown at us, and each brick we throw at every single person.

Straight pride

It is as feasible as anything else. But, I’ve never seen a straight person look at another and instinctively think of them as their sisters. I’ve never seen a straight person raise stones against the cops when they were confronted.

I’ve seen straight people refuse to march with each other for a common cause because of petty disagreements, because of the stakes that weren’t important at all.

Maybe, because they didn’t need it. Because there was no history that would ask them to need it. There’s always someone to eulogize straight people. Someone or someone else would tell the story.

Sure, they can have their Pride.

But, I’m afraid they lack the basic ingredient that makes Pride possible. No straight person has fought for Pride as hard as we did. And you’d never be able to sustain the Pride movement for as long as we did either.

So, go on, you straights.

March this year, march the next, I’m sure you won’t be marching after a decade.

And here’s something about queers that you should know.

“You have beheaded us, killed us, maimed us, burned every last page written about us again and again. The only thing you haven’t managed to do is to silence us fully. You know why? Because darlings, you might be getting tired, but we can do this all day”

You must be to comment.

More from The Egoist Poststructuralist

Similar Posts

By Jhatkaa.org

By Prithvi Vatsalya

By Love Matters India

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at actnow@youthkiawaaz.com

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        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.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        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.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        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.

        Share your details to download the report.









        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below