This June, remember to hold onto your anger and pain as you set out to celebrate your pride. Pride was, never a celebration alone to begin with. It was and will always, remain a fierce riot.
When I joined DU Beat, I was a lost correspondent with too many opinions on Netflix and zero knowledge about graphics ideation. But one thing I knew for sure was that I wished to write stories rooted in my immediate cultural experiences. Stories about people. Stories about students. Stories about queerness.
I never viewed queerness as something that was associated with a sexual identity but rather as something that served as a deviation from a set norm. Queering of narratives, discourses, readings and even something like non-linear documentation of time always interested me. As a marginal figure in my most immediate circles while growing up, I felt the need to understand and by extension empathise with anything that occupied a position of marginality around us.
Ever since I stepped foot into DU, I realised that there are hardly any places more queer than those afforded by educational spaces – where marginal social identities offset hundreds of students from the larger crowd of normal adherence. And such varsity spaces become intersectional convergence points for glorious bonhomie – and sometimes sites of extreme cruelty. Taking pride in visiblising intersectional identities in university spaces like ours are more often than not the share of a privileged few – their economic and social position allowing them affordances most are denied. The same identity that becomes the pride of a select few – comes at a cost for others. For most people of such social minority identities, making common knowledge of your lower caste identity comes at the cost of having your narrative being baited by upper caste saviours, your gender identity becomes a double edged sword in your path of progress and your sexuality a constant site of speculation and amusement for those around you.
But amidst the pride colours, pride watchlists and other glittery extravaganza is the overlooked loneliness of growing up queer. To survive a childhood of conflict with your truest point of self-identification, knowing that perhaps the biggest truth about you will always be held as a questioned truth by those around you and eventually coming to a city this big and finding yourself lost amidst a sea of unknown faces – each presenting to you hierarchies of power previously unknown to you. You are immediately swept into a whirlwind of heterosexual college romances, and your heart yearns for that singular same-sex romance that you only see in your annual token queer Netflix romantic comedy and before you know it you have set sail on the flood-prone waves of the hookup culture. Eventually your life is a string of making your way from one bed to another, from looking for ‘spots’ and asking for ‘places’.
But every year in June, corporations and allies around you urge you to forget this language of heartbreak and make you drown in their definition of a glitzy celebration of queerness. To all those queer souls lost this Pride month – to you I say, remember Pride began as a protest, a riot to be precise. Take the anger in your heart and hold onto it – for being queer comes at great pain of surviving a staunchly heterosexual society. To all the allies planning your next pride march, make sure to administer a consensual hug to the next queer you meet this month – queerness is a struggle with loneliness and for all your good intent some loneliness of the self that will take this community an entire life to overcome.