Namma Pride 2018: First LGBT event after Supreme Court verdict declared homosexuality not a criminal offence held in Bangalore on December 9.
Thousands of activists of LGBT converged right at the entrance of Nadaprahu Kempegowda Railway Station at the heart of Bangalore, Majestic Circle. The participants were all the more revelling with gay, as the event is happening for the first time after the Supreme Court of India had announced the verdict that Section 377, homosexuality wasn’t criminal act any more. The queer community and their supporters assembled in large numbers, danced to the rhythmic drumbeats, attracting many onlookers.
The pride march, an initiative of the Campaign for Sexuality Minorities Rights (CSMR), a group of vivid LGBTQ groups and individuals from across the capital city of the south Indian state of Karnataka. The march kick-started with pomp from the Tulsi Park post lunch at around 2.00 PM and came to an end at at the Puttanna Chetty Town Hall at 5.00 PM.
The Indian.News caught up with Veena Sethuraman, who took part in the Namma Pride, who is a vociferous supporter for the cause of LGBT community. When asked, as to how she felt about the latest event and the past events, Veena says, “From the time I got to know the date and place of the latest queer pride walk, I was looking forward to be part of it. To walk along with my tribe, to shout out my support to my tribe for their space in this world, which unfortunately is their birth right. As a heterosexual (straight) woman ally of LGBTIQ, I have lost the count of the number of times I have been asked why do I support them. And my answer always has been, I support them because they need that support to be heard and seen. To help them get their space which is not given to them fairly.”
Nevertheless, this pride walk experience helped her realise some thing more powerful. “As I watched them joyfully walking shouting their slogans, I realised that as actually, I get lot more than what I give this community. This community helps me to see the privilege the heterosexuals take for granted – our body and our right to love”, Veena says.
On the occasion of ten years of Pride in Bangalore (as well as Mumbai & Delhi) last year, BanglorePride had brought out a video, A Brief History of All Things LGBTQIA in India – to bring you up to speed on things, presented very speedily (as a LOT has happened and there’s a lot to unpack and understand here) in this animated video. Video: FB/BangalorePride.
Whether it is in an impromptu tea and dosa outing with a bunch of them, or in a day long relaxed conversation with some of them, they help her see their world of struggles, pain, strength and victory that they have gone through in their journey. They inspire Veena to fight. To be herself. To give without expecting anything back. Above all to celebrate this body and life in spite of all the obstacles.
“For those who think I am idealising them, the answer is a resounding No. “I am not. Exactly the way I don’t idealise you and me, I don’t idealise them. Because they are as normal as you and me. Yet as different as you and me,” she points out.
When asked as what, according to her, was the cardinal difference, Veena concurred, “The main difference is they refuse to be silenced when rest of the world imposes stigma on them for what they are and whom they love. Even as we were walking on the 8th Pride Walk in Kerala, a couple of years back, one police officer asked a fellow walker. “Are you not ashamed of walking like this?” My fellow walkers walked with a bigger smile and more grit shouting…”Whatever you are….its ok. It’s ok!”
Well….to answer you officer, with all due respect. They are not ashamed. Nor am I. Why should I? When I get to see the larger world through a window, when I am atrying to see this world through a key hole. When I get more love than I give. I am not ashamed. Nor should you.”