Saturday the 28th of January will always be etched in my heart. It was my first pride walk, a cause I have always felt strongly about and have equally wanted to be a part of but never had the chance. So when I heard about the Queer Azaadi Mumbai walk, it was only natural that I made sure I absolutely had to be there!
Making it just in time for the walk to begin at August Kranti Maidan, it immediately felt like a completely different atmosphere – one of complete positivity. Every single person wore a smile that was nowhere close to fading even after the walk had been completed.
Through the sunny early evening, everyone walked, dancing and cheering along the way with their heads held high with the pride of being who they all were and all of the others who were there to support their friends and largely to support equality for all. There was myriad all dressed beautifully in what they felt portrayed themselves best. It was such a breath of fresh air to not be surrounded by gender- binary conformity and hetero-normativity. A lot of different people carried some very powerful banners and placards with some very necessary and powerful slogans and messages.
Through the event what stood out most for me was the safe space that was created. A space that allowed the people to be exactly who they wanted to be, that made everyone feel accepted and happy and one that made everyone feel equal yet unique. It is my hope that one day this safe space will exist on its own and equality for all genders and orientations will become a reality. Until then, let us stand in solidarity for all those who are unprotected by the law and stigmatized simply for being themselves and support them through the way until we can bring about a real change even if it is a gesture as small as going for a pride walk.
- Prarthana Lohia
(Photo credits: Rohini Vasishtha)