Like every other year, the streets of Kolkata, on December 29, 2019, were painted with the colours of the rainbow, as the city celebrated the 2019 edition of the Pride Walk. The walk started from Mohd. Ali Park of North Calcutta and marched till Bagbazar.
India’s first pride walk, and the oldest in Asia, was organised in the year 1999, called the ‘Friendship Walk‘.
The Kolkata rainbow Pride Walk was organised by various trans organisations, the queer community, and individuals, to celebrate Pride.
The walk mainly aimed at seeking support on the consensus to revise the Transgender Person (Protection of Rights)Bill, now an Act, 2018 which goes against the better interest of the transgender and gender non-conforming communities of the country.
Renowned fashion designer Subha Kenworthy, LGBTQ activist Deb Barua, human rights Activist Obishek Kar participated in the walk.
“This was my third pride walk, it was amazing as usual. Since my first pride walk, I have never been missing out going to one. Everything was so colourful and bright and happy. It was more of a happy walk, where everyone was themselves, that’s the best part of it,” said Poulami Bhowmick, a student.
This year hundreds of people marched through the streets of Kolkata with colourful and vibrant costumes, displaying posters that read “No NRC,” “No to Fascism,” “Rainbow has no Saffron Colour“.
“Let’s first understand that pride is political. If we peep into history, we can see that queer movements are about the demand for rights. Starting from right to be, right to love then comes existence and acceptance.”
“At this point in time when existence depends on papers, a huge number of brothers and sisters from the trans, hijra, sex workers community don’t have any papers. Some of them have been thrown out of their family, some have been trafficked. Where would they go?” asked Panchali Kar, theatre practitioner, political activist.
She added, “This is a time when a large number of people from the community think that the solidarity needs to be extended to minorities irrespective of their identity, because being minorities, we too are at the receiving end of the systemic oppression. If minorities don’t unite at this point of time, then tomorrow we might be at the gunpoint due to some other agenda imposed by the oppressive state. Therefore NRC, CAA, NPR are extremely pertinent agendas within the queer movement.”
Representatives of various LGBTQ communities along with allies took part in the march, both to celebrate their diverse identities and to protest against the violence faced by them regularly from society.
Prasenjit Samanta and Avijit Das, a couple, said “We love to come to Pride Walk every year and this is our 5th year .
We come here as we get to meet new people and we enjoy a lot.” Both Prasenjit and Avijit have been setting a benchmark in the community, as they are celebrating 1.5 years of togetherness.
More than 100+ photographers were present at the walk to capture various moments. Deepbrata Dutta, a photographer, said: “I love to come to Pride Walk as I get various emotions that I can capture through my lens and those emotions are very rare nowadays.”
Rainbow Pride Walk is held with the intention of making a statement for equality, tolerance, love, and solidarity. The walk is held to raise the voice for equality, irrespective of gender, sexuality, or religion.
Photo credit: Panchali Kar