Guwahati: Hundreds of people came out to take part in the seventh edition of the annual queer/LGBTQIA pride walk on the streets of Guwahati on Sunday. The colourful event was organised by the queer community and was supported by its allies at the Dighalipukhuri area of the city.
The march was aimed to show society, government and various stakeholders that such a vibrant community exists in all its might and pride.
Speaking with EastMojo, one of the participants, Deepjyoti Bhatta, said, “This was my first pride walk. Participation was a liberating and mirthful experience. For me, the meaning of Pride is a celebration — of our bodies, desires, gender identities, and sexuality.”
“It is also a protest against all forms of discrimination happening in the name of sex and gender. Pride is all about inclusion. We are rainbow people. We do not differentiate. We co-exist with love. Peace and Azaadi,” added Bhatta.
They also asked the administration to turn their attention towards the welfare of the community and also to assure the members that it is all right to be who they are.
However, the pride walk also saw many people who did not belong to the community, participating to show their support to their cause. One such participant was Minakshi Mandal.
“The event was so much empowering and I could see that people were happy. The vibrant colours were shining in their eyes. And the best part is that if they can accept us and we can enjoy among them, then why can’t we support and accept them too? Not even once did I feel like an outsider or lost,” she said.
“More power to them. This was my first pride walk, and I will support more in future,” added Mandal.
The community also raised the issue that even after the decriminalisation of homosexuality by the Supreme Court on September 8, 2018, the condition of the queer community has still not improved.
According to the community, same-sex marriage is still not recognised, homosexual parents are not allowed to adopt children, queer subject matter is not included in the school/college curriculum even after Supreme Court’s instruction and there is no strict law against bullying, which is a major issue for them.
Moreover, the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 has not been able to uplift the condition of the transgender population. On the contrary, it has kept scope for misuse and discrimination towards them, said a participant.
In a nutshell, the community also raised some demands such as:
Make NRC process inclusive of transgender people
Make LGBTQIA+ issues a part of school and college curriculum
Make amends to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 as per the demands of the transgender community.