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Shalini Singh
Shalini Singh


Protest against war threats and jingoism to mark this year's pride march

INDIA-GAY-PRIDE-PARADE (File) Queer pride parade | AFP

This Sunday, Delhi will play host to the ninth edition of the Queer Pride Parade -- an annual event in the capital since 2007. This year, the festival supporting lesbian, gay and transgender communities will take up myriad issues including the countless deaths and blindings in Kashmir and the thrashing of dalit men in Una by 'gau rakshaks'. They will address the “growing cloud of war threats", "nationalist jingoism that threatens to suspend the freedom and rationalise the subjugation of a whole spectrum of people” and the everyday terror of pop-nationalists and right-wing forces rampaging in universities.

Apart from these pressing current issues, the pride hopes to take forward the strides made in the preceding years in the battle for a dignified life that includes resistance against discrimination meted out against several sexually non-conforming people. It will also decry the lack of expansion and implementation of the provisions under the National Legal Services Authority of India Judgment (in 2014, the Supreme Court, in a landmark decision, had declared transgender people to be the third gender), the "poorly" drafted Transgender Rights Bill and Section 377.

It will also work towards dismantling social structures that hold them in humiliation -- in homes, schools, colleges, offices, public spaces or among friends and family. The idea is to assert that the pride is linked to a broader demand for freedom and dignity for all, an ideal for a world that is "anti-caste, feminist, sex and body positive". They will highlight the need to support a rising tide of dalits, muslims, women, disabled, Kashmiris, people in the North East, adivasis, academics, filmmakers and students resisting forces that threaten their freedoms.

The charter of demands for the pride include: justice for Tara, a transwoman who was found burnt to death in Chennai after police harassment, effective implementation of the SC’s NALSA judgment, withdrawal of the current Transgender Rights Bill, action against anti-minority violence, a crack-down on extortion and threats in the name of nationalism. It will push to repeal Section 377, anti-beggary and anti-Hijra laws, laws that keep marital rape out of the ambit of rape law, sedition laws, UAPA and AFSPA.

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