New Delhi: “I am gay, I am here. I am not hiding in my house. I refuse to hide in my house because you cannot deal with it,” said a participant at Delhi’s Queer Pride Parade, echoing the motto of the pride march. Since 2008, Delhi Queer Pride Committee has been organising the queer pride parade every last Sunday of November. It is an annual festival to honour and celebrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (the whole queer community), and their supporters. The parade usually runs from Barakhamba Road to Tolstoy Marg to Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
Because of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) elections, the 13th pride parade was postponed from November 2022 to January 9, 2023. Team NDTV-Dettol Banega Swasth India attended the first pride march of 2023, which got an overwhelming turnout.
The colorful march witnessed people dancing, shouting slogans and being themselves on the streets of Delhi. Speaking to NDTV about the importance of such events, one of the participants said,
If you remember when the Supreme Court reinstated Section 377, a controversial British-era law that banned consensual gay sex, they said it’s a minuscule minority. Is 15,000 people a minuscule minority on the street? No, it is not and that is why it is important as the slogan says, ‘I am gay, I am here’.
June, marked as Pride Month promotes visibility and unity among LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer) individuals, allowing them to come together, celebrate their identities, and express their authentic selves. It creates a sense of solidarity to find their place, their voice and their identity as an equal in society.
Another participant said,
Whenever I am part of these marches, I look at people who are passing by, who are not a part of this march but they look. And it’s so important for them to witness that, ‘Oh, this is the progress which has happened. Maybe I can identify as queer or maybe I have always identified as queer but I did not know this kind of acceptance exists’.
The history of why June was chosen as Pride Month can be traced back to the Stonewall Uprising that took place in New York City in 1969. On June 28, 1969, police raided Stonewall Inn, the most popular gay bar in New York city, on the pretext of operating without a liquor license. The news of the Stonewall raid spread quickly throughout the city and by that evening (June 28), thousands of people including patrons of the Stonewall and other locals got involved and fought back the police brutality for six days.
The first Pride march was held on June 28, 1970, on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. The information available on the Library of Congress’ website states,
By all estimates, there were three to five thousand marchers at the inaugural Pride in New York City, and today marchers in New York City number in the millions. Since 1970, LGBTQ+ people have continued to gather together in June to march with Pride and demonstrate for equal rights.
The members of the LGBTQ+ community across the world have been fighting for their rights and reiterating that they exist. Sharing the reasons behind engaging in the pride march, a participant said,
We have come here so that people recognise us, and get to know more about us and our issues. We want people to understand us and accept the way we are.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF)status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.