To the heels I bought with my limited savings from last month, as the perpetually broke college student that I am, I wish I knew that visiblising queerness comes at a social price.

 Manifesting queerness had always been on my list of things I had to do in college. When things, without any notice, went online, it bothered me because in my head college was going to be only a little more than me strutting in with the trendiest indie fashion pieces, a feminist poetry collection in hand, and a Matisse or New Yorker tote in the other. But fashion statements come at a cost and this time there was the added interest of a pandemic too.

Upon hearing the news of the much-awaited re-opening, I rushed with two friends to Hudson Lane and walked into three different shops – before buying a comfortable heel that not only matched the image in my head but also fit.. Even as I tried out the shoes, I could feel the eyes of the shopkeeper on me. It is for a friend who is flying in, I remember saying to just avoid being value judged by an abject stranger.

But if the shopkeeper was a stranger I was willing to lie to, people in my college were too large in numbers to even respond. And, being a dream that I had nurtured for the longest while, this was a question I was more than willing to engage with. The online college had limited my interactions with a select few people scattered across the college, people who I thought would point towards my heels and say, Oh my god! You did it? or with an air of abject sympathy say, Aren’t those hurting? Do you have band-aids?

Appraisal and sympathy are west winds that comfort the length and breadth of your skin upon touch. But what I was unprepared for was walking into my canteen quarters and being faced with groups of bulked up men from the northern quarters of our country, taking stalk of my heels coupled with my ajrak shirts and small rainbow pendants – just to turn back and initiate a pungent and viral smirk that would birth a sense of hateful sense of directed towards my end.

There would of course be the whispers – annoying to an extent that you know you are being spoken of but you hardly have the courage in your system to walk up to them and ask, in absolute De Niro style, are you talking to me? The first few days of offline college makes you realise that truly the online space is a created bubble wrap of people who are tailored to be decent to you, as opposed to the offline front which throws open the possibilities of being sucked into a whirlwind of heterogeneous socio-cultural capital holders where being the other comes at the cost of scrutiny on the altar of toxic masculinity.

The North campus too, with all its red bell towers and granite pillars, is a divided world in itself. The world of Ramjas is characterised by muted warm colours and gazes that make you hit home the realisation that you’re abjectly out of place – that you don’t belong and you never will. Cross the road and on the other side, outside JP Stall you’ll find a queer visual haven where wearing H&M and carrying Starbucks with neon painted into your hair – makes you no longer an object to be stared at but rather something desirous and aspirational.

Anwesh Banerjee

[email protected]

Three years since the decriminalisation of Section 377, and the Indian Queer community continues to be on the receiving end of prejudice and discrimination. But with compulsory heterosexuality being guzzled down everyone’s throat, and the archaic patrolling of the borders of sexuality and gender identity, are we really surprised?

TW: mention of suicide, homophobia, conversion therapy

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an Indian family deep in the trenches of society, will forever be plagued by the longstanding preoccupation of “log kya kahenge?” Miss Austen’s wordy prose aside, you would have to be an extremely lucky individual if you have somehow managed to escape this cultural obsession with propriety. It is hard to escape, impossible even for some.

And yet for others, it is an obsession that is oftentimes deadly. Last year, a queer woman from Kerala died of suicide after being forcefully subjected to conversion therapy. Two years before that, a lesbian couple died of suicide after being shunned by the world for their love. “We are leaving this world to live with each other. The world did not allow us to stay together,” is what their last words were, courtesy of a note that they left.

Social movements in India, like the feminist movement, have to a larger extent, been able to establish some legitimacy amongst the Indian public because of collective pressure on political authorities by these groups.

In comparison, the queer movement has struggled to gain the same form of legitimacy in society. A lesser number of people are willing to advocate for queer concerns or publicly identify as queer and advocate for queer activism. And in most cases, we can safely attribute this silence to the Indian social attitude towards sexuality and gender identity. This rigorous and despotic policing of the borders of “normal sexuality” means that fears of many kinds are commonplace in the lives of people under the rubric of queer. This, coupled with intersectionality, makes the lives of many queer people cramped with fear and shame, reflective of societal sentiments.

“Talk more about it!” or “Be vocal about your problems!” It is easy to ask people to advocate more outrageously about their issues when your own head isn’t on the chopping board. And when talks of queerness in the conventional Indian setup are centred around pathological and criminological perspectives- around conversion therapies and social isolation- with what right would we dare ask the queer community to self-identify?

How can we blame them, when parents value their social standing in a stunted and backward society more than their children’s happiness?

Perhaps I am merely parroting what you have already read in hundreds of articles. Or perhaps this might lead to a belated cognizance within many. But your allyship to the queer community

means nothing when it is practised only in a safe space. Your threads about queer subtext in Indian mythology are useless unless you’re willing to take them beyond your Twitterverse. This society is more brutal than what we perceive, discussing issues at large while sitting at the dinner table with people who think the same as us. What’s the use? They already know. It’s time to move past them.

Read Also: E-Newspaper – Volume 15 Issue 01 (Pride Edition)

Shreya Juyal

[email protected] 

Owing to the Constitutional Amendment where Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was decriminalised  Bollywood is trying to be inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community. However, have they really been able to?

The LGBTQIA+ community has been ridiculed in Bollywood for decades. Bollywood has been minting money by its dehumanizing depiction of the community. In a broader sense, the entire queer community in Bollywood is misinterpreted because of an actor or director’s notion of the community.

Bollywood movies based on LGBTQIA+ theme were released as early as the 1970s. The film, Badnam Basti, portrays a love triangle between a woman and two men. However, the film disappeared into oblivion shortly after it was released in the theatres. In 1996, Fire was condemned because of the movie’s ‘alien’ depiction of lesbianism that led to protests in many parts of the country.

The LGBTQIA+  representation in Bollywood has peculiar similarities in all its characters. All gay characters have been added to movies for comic relief. For instance, Suresh Menon’s gay character in Partner cracked double meaning jokes, was feminised to match every other gay character in Bollywood films. The Indian society has stigmatized the queer community, and by portraying LGBTQIA+ characters without substance, the chances of the community being ridiculed increase exponentially along with heightened homophobia in the society.

All gay characters are either dance instructors or fashion designers. Many professions have been gendered and this internalized gendering is clearly depicted in Bollywood films. Boman Irani’s character in Dostana is a fashion editor. These stereotypes are affirmed by society which leads to people forming wrong notions about several professions and the community as well.

Apart from a handful of movies, a gay couple in films consists of one partner being extremely feminine and the other partner plays a tough, macho character. The ‘feminine’ partner is seen dressed in ‘colours for women’ such as pink, purple or floral shirts.

Tejasvi, a student of Lady Shri Ram College opined, “Many people in the society refuse to accept the fact that same-sex relationships can be real and due to internalised homophobia, the movies that portray LGBTQIA+  characters having healthy relationships are often condemned. Bollywood has come a long way in terms of representation of the queer community, but it completely depends on the viewers and whether they are ready to accept the relevance of same-sex relationships.”

The coming-of-age web series and movies have taken into account the faulty depiction and stereotypical nature LGBTQ characters and have made an effort to correct these practices. These peculiarities have significantly reduced since the decriminalization of Section 377. Television shows such as Made in Heaven and Four More Shots Please have carefully addressed how the queer community in a country like India faces multiple issues. These shows did not portray its characters in the usual ways that the LGBTQIA+ community is portrayed. They made efforts to apprise the viewers about how bisexuality and homosexuality are absolutely normal and not unnatural unlike how they were portrayed in films earlier.

Ayushmann Khurana’s Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is being considered a milestone as it is Bollywood’s first gay romantic-comedy film. For many years, homosexuality has been denounced as a disease by many people in the country. The director Hitesh Kewalya made use of comedy to send out an extremely powerful message of societal acceptance of the community. The LGBTQIA+  community has been discriminated against for many years and with the Supreme Court’s ruling on decriminalization of Section 377, the director ensured that the viewers understand that same-sex relationships are as relevant as heterosexual relationships.

Feature Image Credits: Pinkvilla

Suhani Malhotra

[email protected]


The conversation surrounding menstruation has largely been women-centric, is it time to go beyond the binary and include trans men, and queer folks? 

‘Bleeding makes me feel empowered’ is one of my go-to statements while I am menstruating. Most of the cis-gendered womxn I have encountered are surrounded by differing experiences, from squirming ovaries to period sex. Come womxn’s day, menstrual hygiene management, sanitary products, cramps, advertisements, literature, most of them cease to acknowledge that, not all womxn menstruate and not all people who menstruate are womxn.

Always, a menstrual product company owned by Procter and Gamble removed the ‘Venus’ symbol from their products, thus, dissociating their product packaging with womxn, making it more inclusive. Cis-womxn felt rather excluded believing that they are being erased from the conversations. They have criticised the inclusion of non-binary, trans men, and individuals of other genders and considered it disrespectful. What is feminism if not intersectional? 

A chance encounter with Vihaan Peethambar, Queer Feminist and Trans Activist at a Summit in Delhi last year threw light on the idea of trans men aka, those individuals who were assigned female at birth, implying that they menstruate well into their transition. We as a society tend to draw the line of womanhood at menstruation. We equate menstruation with feminity.

Gender does not have anything to do with one’s biological anatomy. Vihaan talks of the sheer disparity of bringing the non-binary and queer folks into the conversation surrounding menstruation. Anyone with a functioning uterus, ovaries, and hormonal system will menstruate until menopause. Umaima, a cis-gendered woman says, “The problematic aspect of the approach towards a subject which itself is a taboo is when womxn talk of mensuration in the specificity of it being about them and their oppression which is the partial truth. It sort of puts them in a superior light of oppression than those who disassociate from binary therefore furthering a difference of gender which shouldn’t exist in the first place.”

A gynaecologist in conversation with sheknows says, “If you have a uterus and aren’t pregnant/breastfeeding, menopausal, hormonally suppressing your periods, or dealing with a condition like PCOS, then you’re likely menstruating.” It is essential to disregard gender as a societal construct and focus on the functioning of the uterus. Sex-education is highly heteronormative and tends to chunk out a large community altogether. Transmen find menstruation a reminder of their ‘feminity’, a part of them that they would want to shed. It is a blaring alarm pointing towards their gender dysphoria. Streamlining the conversation towards cis-womxn and limiting it to womanhood, empowerment, and unleashing one’s power of reproduction eliminates and ostracises conversations, social action, public health, and legislative measures of an entire community.

The feminist movement has failed if its sense of feminism limits itself to cis-gendered womxn. It goes beyond the binary, intersectionality is the future of feminist discourse, it is time that the narrative incorporates womxn.

Feature Image Credits: helloclue

Anandi Sen

[email protected] 


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

[email protected]

Delhi Queer Pride Parade 2019 witnessed a colourful celebration of love and inclusiveness, on Barakhamba Road. The march was also led against the regressive Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019. 

24th November, 2019 witnessed the famed Delhi Queer Pride on Barakhamba Road. The pride had dual motives this year, to celebrate love and inclusivity as well as protest against the regressive Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, commonly called the Trans Bill. 

The march began from the intersection of Tolstoy Marg and Barakhamba Road till Janpath, and went even further. The entire road was lit up with rainbow coloured balloons, pride flags, and high-spirited people. 

Posters against the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019, the allegedly homophobic government, and depicting the struggles of the community were seen in abundance.

In a majority of states across our country, LGBTQIA+ rights and dignity are not fully protected by the law, and, in fact, there are fierce movements that seek to oppress and marginalise them and their social relationships. One such movement, being the Trans Bill. 

For many LGBT+ people, Pride is the one time of the year when they can be out and proud about who they are, and whom they love. It’s the one time of year that they can stand boldly in the streets with other queer individuals, proclaiming that “we are fully human”, and deserve to be celebrated and uplifted just like everyone else. Even in cities that are seen as LGBT+ friendly, it is still an incredibly subversive experience to get to march in parades or attend festivals where hundreds upon hundreds of LGBT+ people are letting their lights shine before all people without fear. Pride is often the beginning of the process of healing from the trauma inflicted on us by our heteronormative, patriarchal society.

A student from University of Delhi (DU) under the conditions of anonymity said, “Pride is the time where I can take out my mom’s saree and try it, not behind my bedroom’s closed door but out in the open in the streets, and be loved for it.”

The streets witnessed various scintillating performances on the beats of the dhol and drums playing. The parade was echoing with slogans like “Pyaar karne ki azadi, Modi se azadi” and “Jai Bheem”.

The major concern of the pride was to raise awareness against the resistance being faced by one part of the LGBTQIA+ community due to the Trans Bill. 

India’s Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2019, contradicts the rights and protections laid out in the country’s supreme court’s NALSA verdict of 2014. It also upholds the humiliating process of submitting an application to District Magistrate for a legal recognition of one’s transgender identity, which means to first register as a transgender, then submit proof of surgery to get identification as male or female. The bill also says that sexual violence against a trans persons will be subjected to a  punishment from 6 months to 2 years, in comparison to 7 years crimes against heterosexual women. It also rejects reservation and affirmative action for trans, intersex and gender nonconforming people in health, education and employment.

Student unions like All India Student Association (AISA) were also seen being part of the parade along with students from all over DU and other universities. 

However, the Pride didn’t only see participation from one age group. People from all walks of life had come together for pride, from school children to middle-aged men to the elderly. 

Delhi Queer Pride is a time where everyone steps out of the shadows and declares that they will no longer be forced to suppress their truest selves because of the heterosexual fragility and fear. 

Feature Image Credits: Noihrit Gogoi for DU Beat

Chhavi Bahmba 

[email protected]


In response to Pride celebrations, a reactionary movement has sprung up to “reclaim” space for the black and white of heterosexuality amid rainbow hues.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender,
Queer+ (LGBTQ+) community has
only recently garnered widespread
acceptance with the advent of increased
representation, favourable leaps in
legislative matters, and a heightening
of social awareness, which were
achieved after arduous struggles by the
marginalised community. The concept
of Pride in queer context implies the
promotion of self-affirmation, equality,
and dignity within individuals with a non-
binary sexual identity, a remembrance of
the bigotry (still) faced by the community,
and a celebration of the strides made.
Pride events like parades, festivals,
marches, and formation of queer
collective aim to normalise homosexuality
in the face of the tyrannising
heteronormative binary. Pride is also
quite a revolutionary concept that has
emboldened a community to embrace
their identity, which, earlier they had
to veil with a monochromatic shroud.
The conspicuous and colourful nature of
these celebrations reflects the collective
coming-out of the long-closeted
community into the mainstream.
Most Pride events happen annually
during June, which has been instated
as “Pride Month” to commemorate the
New York Stonewall Inn Riots of 1969 –
the first robust act of resistance against
a repressive administration. This year
witnessed the 50th anniversary of this
pivotal moment of the gay liberation
movement. Queer representation hit
the peak of main(lame)-stream with the
release of Taylor Swift’s kind of excessive,
kind of stereotypical, yet allegedly well-
intended “gay” music video, You Need to
Calm Down.
In India, on 6th September, the first anniversary of the scrapping of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalised homosexual intercourse, was celebrated with great fervour across the University of Delhi (DU) in various institutions. Kamala Nehru College, in collaboration with Nazariya, a queer, feminist resource group, organised a Pride event in their college. Lady Shri Ram College observed a hearty affair as well, with a queer-themed open mic, and a Pride party, followed by a Pride march organised by the college’s Women’s Development Cell. Throughout the North and the South Campus, a galore of Pride celebrations with a multitude of Pride flags, representing the multitudinous sexuality spectrum were fluttering through, strewn across streets, sewn into outfits, and painted on faces.
However, the ostensible nature of these celebrations, going in full-swing irked the likes of a few. A reactionary movement to reclaim the allegedly tarnished pride of heterosexuals, given the increased homosexual social movement, sprang up. Boston, and Massachusetts observed a Straight Pride Parade on 31st August. The organisers, who hold ties with the extreme-right movement in America, justified the event by accusing the identity politics of the left and calling for greater representation for straight people.

An elementary school in Mumbai, which goes by the name of Sanskriti School, joined in on the fad and insisted upon a Straight Pride Parade. An Instagram handle was made to perpetuate the novel idea but it can no longer be found on Instagram, reportedly owing to the negative feedback it received from the community on Instagram.
The Straight Pride Movement is not an idea in its nascence, and can be traced back to the 1980s, but something is to be said about its fledgling popularity. Even though both the aforementioned efforts were dwarfed by counter-protesters, they still gained traction and were valid enough for a few to latch on to it. This reveals the fragility of a small group of heterosexuals who feel insecure and attacked by the growing acceptance of a long-ostracised community.
Pride is a resistive, cultural movement with a lot of history, gravitas, and significance for the LGBTQ+ community, which is being undermined by such reactionary, shallow ventures. It is rightly said, “When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.”

Feature Image Credits: Akarsh Mathur for DU Beat

Prisha Saxena
[email protected]

The pride month is here! A time where us queer folks gather in solidarity as big corporates indulge in ‘rainbow capitalism’. Here are 8 Asian authors you need to read this pride month.


Hoshang Merchant

Born in 1947 to a Zoroastrian family in Mumbai, Merchant studied in Los Angeles and Purdue. He is known as the first openly gay poet in Modern India. He edited India’s first gay anthology Yaraana: Gay Writing from India. Merchant is the author of 20 books of poetry and 4 critical studies. He even taught poetry and surrealism at the University of Hyderabad for more than two decades.


Akhil Katyal

Katyal is a New Delhi based poet, teacher and translator. His openly queer poetry revolves around cities and the remnants of the past. Katyal was an Asst. Professor at the Department of English of SGTB Khalsa College, Ramjas College and St. Stephens’ College, he even taught at the Shiv Nadar University. He currently teaches at Ambedkar University, Delhi.  Katyal is best known for his collection of poems, How Many Countries does the Indus Cross? And his collection Night Charge Extra.  He also translated Ravish Kumar’s collection of poems, Ishq Mein Shahar Hona (A city happens in love).


Sara Farizan

Iranian-American Sara Farizan is the author of the 2013 novel If You Could Be Mine, a novel set in Tehran, Iran revolving around two girls who fall in love. The book went on to win the Lamba Literary Award. Farizan wrote the novel after realising her own sexuality and the taboo around it, especially in the Persian Community. She is also the author of Here To Stay and Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel.


Aditi Angiras

Aditi Angiras is the founder of Bring Back The Poets, a spoken word poetry collective. She founded the collective in 2014, after her tryst with music, cinema and rap. Angiras is also a queer activist, intersectional feminist and a TED speaker. One of her notable poems is My Mad Girl’s Love Song based on Sylvia Plath’s poem  Mad Girl’s Love Song. Angiras is also the co-editor along with Akhil Katyal of a digital anthology of South Asian queer poetry.


Vikram Seth

Author of A Suitable Boy and  Mappings, a poetry collection, Seth is possibly one of the most well-known Indian writers of the English language. He is the author of 3 novels, 8 poetry collections and 1 childrens’ fiction book. In 2007, Seth became one of the voices against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. His mother, Leila Seth also refers to his sexuality in her memoir. In 2017, Seth was awarded the Makwan Prize for his queer activism.


Suniti Namjoshi

Born in 1941, Namjoshi is a poet and fabulist. She is best known for her book  Feminist Fables. Her main influences are Virginia Woolf, Adrienne Rich and Kate Millett. She was also an activist for queer rights. Her work explores her lesbian identity and its definitions in a heteronormative world.


Saleem Kidwai

Kidwai is a medieval historian, queer rights activist and a translator. He taught history at Ramjas College, University of Delhi till 1993. He was one of India’s first academics to come out as queer. His work focuses on Urdu literature, the history of desire and courtesan culture. He is the co-editor of the book Same-Sex Love in India: Readings from Literature and History along with scholar Ruth Vanita.


Shyam Selvadurai

His name might ring familiar to the English hons students, Selvadurai is the critically-acclaimed author of Funny Boy, a story set in Sri Lanka, building up to the 1983 rights. Selvadurai also released an essay in 1997 titled Coming Out which spoke about the bias and discomfort him and his partner faced in Sri Lanka. He released his fourth novel in 2013, he also has a spider named after him.


Feature Image Credits: Live Mint

Jaishree Kumar

[email protected]

Queer collectives are still a new idea within the colleges of University of Delhi. While there is an overall need for collectives of other kinds of minorities as well, let’s explore the case for queer collectives in colleges.

Queer collectives are basically groups that lie somewhere in between the spectrum of support groups/forums and representative organisations. Their purpose is to provide a space for the LGBTQ+ community, which is still very much marginalised in a country like India.

Even around the world, the focus on recognising queer identities has increased in the past few years with increased visibility in the media, increased protections through legislation, and greater focus in general. Of course, a lot of focus was never put on the community to begin with, hence the levels we are currently operating at our abysmally low. In India, along with the legal hurdles faced by the community, there is the added issue of how the society views the community. It’s not just the fact that queer folks are mostly treated with an utter lack of basic respect, bullied or mocked for who they are, and treated as punch lines for jokes in movies that show a stereotypical representation; there is also a bigger issue of people simply not understanding them. The idea that sexual orientations are naturally, biologically determined and that ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ are two different concepts, where ‘gender’ is a social construct that involves personal choice, is alien to most of the population. This is not surprising, considering the absolute lack of proper sex/gender related education imparted at school levels.

In such a scenario, it is imperative to have an organisation that can bridge this information gap, and provide a space for queer people to tell their stories, voice out their fears and confusions, and find others like them for support. They can also organise events in the college, helping to normalise the attitudes of the administration regarding them. For people who have struggled to find those like them or non-queer folk who would support them (called ‘allies’ by the movement), such collectives can be great agents of change and bring much needed comfort. It is high time we take this initiative.


Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times

Rishika Singh
[email protected]

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
[email protected]