Girl Up Adira, a club in Shaheed Bhagat Singh College has received widespread condemnation for its decision to host a Pride Parade, with none of the organisers being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. Both the Queer Feminist Collective and the Women Development Cell of the college have issued statements criticising this initiative, calling it performative and an attempt to ‘commodify the community’s struggles.’
A Pride Parade being organised by the official Girl Up Club of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College, Girl Up Adira has received heavy criticism from the Queer Feminist Collective of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College.
The collective has put out a post against the “commodification of Pride Month”. The post even clarified why they were not involved in the ideation or management of this parade at any point. The post also condemned the organisers, collaborators and co-partners for supporting this attempt to commodify pride month.
“It is our understanding that organisations which do not ensure practices of safety and inclusion for queer individuals in their internal structures and do not advocate for queer rights on other instances should not conduct such events during pride month.”–Queer Feminist Collective in their statement
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After receiving huge condemnation from the queer community of their very own college, Girl Up Adira put out a clarification stating that the Pride Parade is not cancelled. The post dismissed the accusations as “rumours”. Though the post acknowledged that none of the organisers are a part of the queer community and the Pride Parade is being organised by “Proud Allies”.
“We know that there has been some commotion about the parade being unethical and unsafe but we assure you that all of these are just rumours….We have received a lot of love and support from the queer communities and that is what we want to make up to and return back to them by empowering them more and more.”Girl Up Adira in their clarification post
Upon being asked if the queer community of their very own college stands against this parade, who is benefiting from this? One of the organisers from Girl Up Adira told DU Beat-
“All the other people who are the part of the community are looking forward to this, They have literally texted us not to cancel this.”
The organiser also alleged that the Queer Feminist Collective was contacted at the start but no response was received from them.
“There are speakers and other people from the community coming who we couldn’t disappoint by cancelling it at the last moment. Trust me we have tried everything, if the QFC had expressed their concerns earlier and talked to us then things would have been handled differently. Just 12 hours before the parade they did this- even when we had been expecting a reply from them since the last 5 days.”-one of the organisers from Girl Up Adira
When DU Beat reached out to QFC about this, they clarified that they had a talk with the founder of Girl Up Adira last Friday. Whereas they denied the claims of being contacted at the start though some texts were received previously.
“I had this conversation with the Founder after everything was done, felt like calling us was an afterthought. It sounded like, “Oh, send the gays”. They openly admit to how no member of the queer community was included in the organising committee, and how everyone is a ‘proud ally’. Their speaker, who is queer, was addressed as a ‘pride speaker’-Vaishnavi. a member of QFC
“They approached us after already making a decision that they’re going to do something. There was no conversation about collaboration in the first place, and we knew there weren’t any queer individuals in this group. We went through their stories, went through their Instagram posts, and we found that there has not been any content or action or support, or advocacy for queer individuals. The conversation that they had with Vaishnavi was that ‘Oh can you ensure categorically that every member of the QC is present?’-Ansh, a member of QFC
After the Queer Collective came forward with their criticism, the collaborators of the Parade have also responded. The Women’s Development Centre (WDC) of Shaheed Bhagat Singh College which was a collaborator previously withdrew its support from the Parade. They clarified that the organization does not wish to engage with any initiative that “lacks representation and participation of the very community it seeks to support” and even apologised for hurting or offending the sentiments of the queer community of their college. Many other students from the community have expressed their disappointment as well.
“Initially, I had planned to go to the pride parade. But upon seeing the Queer Feminist Collective’s post, I did not feel like going anymore. I don’t want to support any organisation that wants to ride on the wagon of pride month. Especially when they don’t do anything for the community the rest of the 11 months. Pride is not just a celebration, it’s a protest as well.”-A queer student from LSR, in conversation with DU Beat
Whereas another collaborator Girl Up Imkaan has stood its ground and conveyed its support for Girl Up Adira. The clarification issued by them on Instagram acknowledged the issues raised by the QFC and SBSC. It further said that the parade upholds the representation of the queer community. Though the itinerary of the parade was released, no information about the speaker(s) was disclosed.
QFC feels pride parades are a shitshow, while other people of the community don’t feel the same”-one of the organisers from Girl Up Adira
In response to this, Aditya, a member of the QFC said-
“To think that a queer collective will condemn the pride culture or it’s history is preposterous. It is precisely the commodification of pride by proud allies that we explicitly think is a shitshow.”
Further expanding on the statement issues and the overall issue, Ansh, a member of the Queer Feminist Collective expounded-
This is about the larger conversation about how pride has become so easy to commodify by people who don’t even understand pride. It should not be reduced to two societies fighting, the statement was issued to ensure there are no instances of rainbow-washing.
You can’t support us by being at the forefront of something being done for us. None of their collaborators include organizations working exclusively for queer individuals. They say ‘other’ queer people support us. There has been no sincere apology, They’ve demanded us to take down our post, and there are rumours of violence against us- the very people they want to protect, to feel safe. We definitely feel we’re on the right track, it was our responsibility as the official place to represent queer individuals…
The parade was being organised in collaboration with Warriors Without Cause, an NGO where one of the founders also happens to be the founder of Girl Up Adira.
Read Also- What it Takes to Organise a Pride Parade
Featured Image Credits: Flickr