Pride parade


“Parade of Power, Pride and Resistance- March for Progressive and Inclusive Campuses” read the poster of the pride parade organised by Students’ Federation of India (SFI). However, the march was met with strong opposition from members of the queer community, who accused SFI of queer baiting and alleged that the parade was nothing more than tokenism.

On June 1, 2023, the North Campus of Delhi University was engulfed in the colours of the pride flag. Hundreds of marching feet echoed across campus as the Student Federation of India (SFI) organised a pride parade to celebrate and support the LGBTQIAP+ community. Horizontal reservations for transgender students, GSCASH implementation, gender-neutral washrooms, queer-inclusive mental health cells, and anti-ragging cells were among some of the top demands of this year’s pride parade.

However, the parade drew strong criticism not only from queerphobes but also from members of the community who accused SFI of queer baiting. Many queer student activists and members of queer collectives and gender cells across Delhi alleged that the pride march is nothing more than SFI’s tokenistic attitude. The SFI’s ignorance or inaction on queer matters throughout the year created a solid foundation for these allegations. Many queer activists and students chose not to participate in the parade. This caused a heated debate within the community.

If not SFI then who? The majority of student unions have historically neglected queer issues, and this continues to be the case today. Whether it is NSUI, ABVP, or AISA. SFI is the only student organisation that talks about queer rights and organises pride parades on campus that are attended by hundreds of people and stands out for queer rights. It’s still better than doing nothing even if they are only doing it for political reasons.

-Prakhar Gangwar (He/They)

Some people in the community, however, believe that building a new room is better than making concessions or attempting to fit into a certain space.

Most political parties or student unions don’t care about queer issues. They talk about rights when doing so serves their political objectives. Abolishing such places sends a loud and clear message that queer lives are not a commodity to be exchanged for votes. Resisting tokenistic behaviours will likely lead to a successful organisation that cares about queer rights.

-Astha Bansal (She/Her)

But in a country like India, where everything revolves around politics, Is this really a good option?

You can’t abolish such spaces. Majority of the country is still unaware about the queer community. It is only cities like Delhi, Mumbai or other metropolitan cities which give you freedom and a chance to organise and attend queer events like pride parades where you get to meet people from the community and freely express yourself.

-Pravishti (She/ Her)

The conversation on whether the pride parade was just a bait or not became pertinent after a few people who attended the parade posted about their experiences on social media.

It appeared to be an SFI political rally. The number of SFI flags heavily outnumbered the number of pride flags.

-Anonymous (She/They)

It was not an apolitical pride parade. A political party organised a political pride parade. So, of course, we’ll have our flags. I identify as queer. I would not have stayed here if SFI uses pride parade as a queerbaiting tool. As a queer student, I say that SFI supports us, and I say this as the president of Indradhanush: The queer affirmative of ZHDC (Morning), not as a representative of SFI. If SFI stops to be the support system, the QC won’t last a single day.

-Arnab Adhikari (He/Him), SFI Member & President of Indradhanush

According to Arnab, the absence of effective social media management has resulted in this debate.

We aren’t handling social media properly. We don’t talk much about the work we do on social media. We all realised that we must communicate, we must post more to avoid such misunderstandings.

-Arnab Adhikari (He/Him)

Pride month always brings discussions around queer baiting into the limelight. Pride month, when it comes to queerbaiting gets reduced to nothing more than a celebration of the unfair privilege enjoyed by the dominant segment of the queer community. The privileged section of the community, largely cis-gay men who dominate most queer spaces, is at the top, while the transgender community is at the bottom. To fully understand this, we must first acknowledge that hierarchy and dominance are inevitable, and, consequently, this cycle of dominance also exists within the queer community. Cis-gay men dominate most queer spaces, tokenistic behaviour by political parties or corporations has little influence on them, and they continue to feed corporate tokenism and empty politics and benefit from it at the same time.


Read Also: Pride and Privilege: An unequal scale

Featured Image Credits: Instagram Page- DU Beat and SFI Delhi


Dhruv Bhati

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A look at how caste and class privilege is still prevalent in the LGBTQI+ Movement in India and how accessible it is to all sections of society.

The LGBTQIA+ movement has taken great strides in India in the form of awareness and rights. An example of how this movement has succeeded is the Supreme Court ruling that Section 377 of the IPC as unconstitutional on 6th September 2018. On the 26th of November 2019, the movement has suffered a setback in the form of the Rajya Sabha passing the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill which is regressive for the Trans community and a step backward for the movement in the country. The question that arises is.  Does the LGBTQIA+ movement consider intersectionalities within the movement or, Does it cater only to certain privileged classes within big cities and still remain inaccessible to people from marginalized communities such as Dalits and Muslims.

The true essence of a movement should lie in fighting for the people within it. An example of this can be seen from an excerpt from Hasratein: A Queer Collective’s latest statement urging action against the Trans Bill during the Pride Parade. “This Pride is not a party, it’s a fight. It’s a brawl in a bar that ends with a brick thrown on the head of a cop. It sparks a revolution. It is for the trans community. Only when this atrocious bill is defeated, do we celebrate. Join us in our rage at Delhi Queer Pride to continue our resistance against this fascist state.”

A noticeable aspect of the pride parade and the LGBTQI+ movement is the ignorance of intersectionality. Rishi Raj Vyas, a Dalit queer activist when talking about the Pride Parade says “When we were at Pride, they did not let us raise the flag of Babasaheb Ambedkar saying that Pride is only for LGBTQ people, thus denying access to queer Dalit and queer Muslim people. So, we need to have more intersectional spaces for queer individuals from different caste and class backgrounds and yes, we need to educate people, especially queer people about struggles of people of class and people of caste”

Yameena, a student of sociology from Miranda House, University of Delhi says “The LGBTQIA+ movement in India has the tendency of excluding Muslims and Dalits. It’s often a result of the inherent islamophobia and casteism of the Savarna queers. It’s also important to look at the issue from a socio-political dimension.”

It is a very important point to consider that the accessibility of these movements for different castes and classes within India is still next to none. Prachi, a student of IPCW says “Coming from a very privileged place, it was very hard for me to remember any Muslim or Dalit queer person I know or have met in real life. the Muslim or Dalit people I know are not publicly out to the world because we live in a very Hindu dominated society and this society is not at all safe for them.”

It is time to recognize that privilege does exist within the sphere of the LGBTQIA+ movement in this country, and while it might take steps forward, the overall effort will be fruitless if the many different socio-political factors within the movement and its intersectionalities aren’t recognized. There is a need to examine and introspect how this movement and all the positives within it can reach and incorporate all sections of society.

Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat

Prabhanu Kumar Das

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After the Supreme Court’s judgment to decriminalise consensual sex between homosexuals, the nation’s idea of love has been redefined. But redefined to what? 
In the seven shades of the rainbow, we have found a deeper meaning to love. On 6th September, in a historical statement, CJI Dipak Misra said, “I am what I am. So take me as I am. No one can escape from their individuality.” As millions of hearts swelled, enjoying this enhanced inclusivity in our society, there were others who were left to fend for their moralistic ideals. However, despite a widespread dissent, the celebration of love was awe-inspiring. Celebrations erupted in various colleges in the varsity. Within a week of the ruling, a couple of pride parades had already been organised successfully. In all their vividness and vibrancy, these parades are so much more than just colors, upbeat performances, or pretended interest. These parades are a celebration of love – an emotion that is warmly dynamic and passionately transparent, yet enigmatic. To celebrate this complexity, it requires more than just organizational skills. It requires heart.

Feature Image credits: Chandrika Mairh - Abstractions
Feature Image credits: Chandrika Mairh – Abstractions


CJI Dipak Misra, speaking for himself, and Justice A M Khanwilkar, said denial of self-expression is akin to inviting death. A delayed legal apology in garb of this decriminalization has been heartily welcomed. Notwithstanding sensibility, there has also been a backlash at the same ruling. The idealists and social intellectuals of their own makings have suddenly risen to a debate on the ethics of ‘unnatural sex’. It is necessary to mention this regression to completely understand how futile this movement will be, if we change only the law and not our thoughts. How can an act be called natural or unnatural? Is it because we indulge ourselves into believing that we can categorize all things, even humans? The problem with categorization is that it fails to hold true to its base model. Categories once defined, become distant over time, to grow into alienated, ostracised siblings, lost and forgotten. We cannot do away with categories completely, but we can understand how they form. For instance, the categories of humans based on their sexual orientations are structured on humanity; let us not forget this. If we hold this, we will know what it means to be human and that is to love.

Palak Kothari - WDC, Hindu College
Palak Kothari – WDC, Hindu College

Take, for instance, the Hindu College Pride Parade which was organized on 25th September. The Women’s Development Cell of Hindu College organised the pride parade in the college campus. With an active participation of performing and fine arts societies for exciting performances and face paintings, respectively, along with an Open mic on Homosexuality, the day was all colors and glamour, like many other parades around the varsity. When questioned about the struggles faced by the WDC in organising the parade, Palak Kothari, the General Secretary, said, “People sometimes make these parades only about the performances, forgetting the real motive behind them. Our biggest concern as a team was to make people understand the entirety of the issue in all its seriousness and sensitivity. Through this, we wish to lessen the slight homophobia that we seem to harbour despite everything. That we should be accepting, and that this acceptance should come from within, that was the biggest concern.” The pride balloons were shades of a rainbow, and in its roaring success, the campus saw a beautiful victory of love when the hearts were colored a rainbow too – for some time, certainly.

Sampriti Rajkhowa - WDC, Hindu College
Sampriti Rajkhowa – WDC, Hindu College

So, is it wrong to say then, that in recent times, our supporting a cause is because it is a fad? Does marching in a pride parade mean just painting rainbows and not be accepting? To say the least, to run away from this reality is denying yourself an identity. “Morality cannot be martyred at the altar of social morality. Only Constitutional morality exists in our country,” said CJI Dipak Misra. The idea of morality looms, always. Among the biggest challenges of organizing a pride parade is the challenging of this skewed idea of morality, ethical framework, and social prejudice. It is the challenge to our acceptance, and that’s all there is –A constant battle. You will decide how you rise up to this challenge, and you are the society. Indeed, the revoking of this ‘irrational, indefensible, and manifestly arbitrary’ law was necessary, but this is just the first step. Joining a movement should not only be about dressing up yourself, but also dressing up your mind.


Choose to see love. Choose to choose it and take pride in it.

Feature Image Credits:

Kartik Chauhan
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Barakhamba Road at Delhi seemed to have been transformed into a gay wonderland drenched in rainbow flags, colourful balloons, and intelligible slogans along with its cheerful and ‘gay’ crowd, as it witnessed the 10th edition of the Delhi Queer Pride Parade. The parade held on 12th November celebrated the queer community of our country and, more than that, pressed their manifesto demanding equal rights for the community.

Every year, the pride walk provides a platform for the LGBTQ+ community to rejoice in their queerness, while it is an avenue for straight allies to show their solidarity and support. Here are some captivating glimpses from the 10th Delhi Queer Pride Parade.


In dark times, we must stay strong. With this resonation, people across Delhi met to sing, dance, and celebrate in an attempt to create a safe space where voices were raised and freedom was demanded. The pride walk was dedicated to people across all sexualities and genders who face discrimination and violence in their lives.



The LGBTQ+ community majorly fights against the dated colonial laws, in particular Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that was reinstated by the Supreme Court in 2013. Under the effect of this law, any consensual homosexual conduct between two adults is illegal and thus punishable. Being queer is often labelled as a choice and a lifestyle – here, an attendee of the pride walk raises a fitting reply to such schools of thought.



Since pride parades create a safe space for the queer community, they provide a stage for members to dress how they want to with no sort of judgment or enforcement of any gender rules and norms. This helps members of the queer community to raise their voice and be proud of themselves and their identity, especially because they are constantly branded as ‘outlandish’, ‘abnormal’, ‘meetha’, and ‘chhakka’ in their daily lives. To see them take pride in themselves in a stereotypical and orthodox society like ours speaks of the heights of their courage.



Though the Queer Pride Parade is held every year, each year it seems fresh and empowering for its people. This year, the march held from Barakhamba Road to Jantar Mantar saw a spree of engendering queer folks who seemed to say a big “screw you” to heteronormativity. While some sang and danced their queerness out, the others appreciated them and captured these liberating glimpses. What was even more delightful was that the police personnel stationed throughout the length of the path also appreciated the queer community.



While the queer community members live in the constant fear of being ostracised and even disowned by society and, moreover, by their own families, for one day, all fears are put aside and courage is mustered to come forward and openly be themselves. Protesting voices raise their claim to live with dignity and security. Love is love, irrespective of gender and sexuality. It should not matter whether it is homosexual, bisexual, transexual, asexual, pansexual, intersex, non-binary, genderqueer, or so on.



The rainbow walk ends in front of Jantar Mantar each year and here, the Delhi Queer Pride manifesto is read out. The true festivities begin with innumerable and lush performances. Attendees go home with aching cheeks from all the smiling and cheering they’ve done throughout the day.



While the LGBTQ+ folks are fighting for legal recognition, it is equally important that our social and cultural spaces are inclusive to the community and that the queer population is embraced as equal children of Mother India. Proper sensitisation and open discussion is necessary to raise knowledge and acceptance. Moreover, heteronormativity needs to be challenged and inclusivity needs to become the norm. Pride is a moment of celebration where the stigma and shame the queer community receives is rejected and everyone exists how they wish to, free of social expectations.

Satrangi Salam!


Image Credits: Ayush Chauhan and P.V. Purnima for DU Beat

Varoon Tuteja
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In the recent Human Rights Convention held in Geneva, India tarnished its tag of democracy by voting against the survival of the third sex, internationally.

On 29th of September, 2017, 47 members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHCR) met in Geneva to vote for and against banning the death penalty for homosexuals. While the majority, that is, 27 member states voted for the resolution; it came as a big-time shock for Indians since India was one of the 13 states including the United States to have voted against the resolution.

While India’s stand on homosexuality in the past has been quite ambiguous and unclear; having taken a stand at an international level as this, has had the country to pay the price by putting the legitimacy of its tag of democracy under the lens. A country that boasts of its man-made diversity outrightly denies acceptance of nature.

While the resolution limited the death penalty to the “rarest of the rare” cases with the rights of the individuals to be protected; it becomes imperative to note that India’s move has been quite unconstitutional as well, pertaining to the fact that in August 2017, the Supreme Court of India held that “Right to Privacy” is a fundamental right under Article 14, Part III of the Indian Constitution; therefore, the need to scrape out the 160-year-old Section 377, that criminalized sexual activities as “against the order of nature”, including homosexual sexual activities. The section was decriminalized with reference to intercourse between consenting adults by the Delhi High Court in July 2009. However, the judgment was overturned by the Supreme Court of India on 11th of December 2013; declaring it to be an issue to be left at the behest of the Parliament, thereby, persistently having an uncertain stand.

So far, in the international community, there have been 6 states which criminalize homosexuality with death- Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, and Somalia- including the Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The 11 states apart from India and the US are- Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Most of the countries from the middle-east have an anti-homo attitude apparently due to their obligation and restriction of the Sharia Law.

The members of the LGBTQ+ community in India despite being looked at with tabooed eyes have succeeded in coming up with their problems and establishing themselves amidst all the stigmas. Manabi Bandopadhyay, a transgender from Kolkata, is the Principal of Krishnanagar College and an activist as well. With this stand, the lives of these people stand jeopardized, as, in the undercurrent, it gives license to the hatemongers, who, as gun-toting bikes, men, might go around assassinating them while we wait to mourn for another martyr. Something similar has already surfaced in the capital, wherein, a boy of class 12 was brutally thrashed by a group of men who had earlier called him a gay, in Shakarpur area this Sunday.

In December 2015, Lok Sabha member Shashi Tharoor of the Indian National Congress had suggested a private member bill to replace section 377 in the Indian Penal Code and decriminalize same-sex relationships; that was turned down at its very initial stage. It was taken up by him yet again, in the year 2016 but was voted down for the second time. It is quite ironical to note that our foreign pseudo-ancestors, who tainted us with the bane around 160 years ago by getting it imbibed into the Constitution; are the European nations who chose humanity over the so-called “beliefs”, while we stand on the same threshold. Most of the Latin American and European countries voted for the resolution.

India as a nation seems to be at a tug-of-war with her own beliefs and practices. This has become quite evident through the very fact that so far, none of the Governments in power, have ever, in their tenure, come clean with a stand on this issue. It has, like every other issue, been reduced to another rung of vote-bank politics.

It seems as if India is trying to follow or borrow some of the ideologies from the Sharia Law, in this context, of course.

Image credit- Press Trust of India


Shrija Ganguly

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