PALAMPUR (HIMACHAL PRADESH): In a first, a pride parade was organised in Himachal’s Palampur area.
The LGBTQ community has been striving to carve out a place for itself in the conservative Indian society. After holding ‘pride marches’ and ‘awareness parades’ at regular intervals in metros such as Delhi and Mumbai. The community is trying to show its strength in the small towns and cities now.
The picturesque Palampur in Himachal witnessed its first pride march in which supporters from different parts of the state participated. The community claims it is still battling prejudices even though the Supreme Court had annulled Article 377 three years ago.
Parade organisers Shashank, Prerna and Don say the motive of this parade is to prove to society that they too are proud of themselves and want the same kind of acceptance as others. Songs and slogans were raised by the members of the LGBTQ community who took part in the parade.
Shashank and Don, residents of Palampur described themselves as “partners”. Shashank says, “in 2018 the Supreme Court apologized to the LGBTQ community for having Section 377 in the Constitution. When the Supreme Court has accepted the community, even society should do so gracefully.”
Identifying herself as a queer woman, Astha said, “I am happy to witness the first pride parade in Himachal. I always wanted to take part in such events.” She added, “I am happy to see people from different cities taking part in this event. I would also like to thank the NGO One Billion Rising for supporting us today.”
Shubojit is an active LGBTQ community member and has taken part in such parades in Delhi, Kolkata and even in Sydney. He said, “I am very proud to be a part of the first pride parade in Himachal Pradesh. I would also like to thank Shashank and his team for brilliantly organising this event.”
Classifying herself as a queer individual, Garima says society isn’t ready to accept them even after the revocation of Section 377. She says, “it is very difficult to change the mindset of the society. We are queer and you have to accept us the way we are.”
Himachal resident Chandrakanta says the LGBTQ community members deserve the same space and respect in society as other genders.