We’ve come full circle, boys and girls.
In less than a week, the city walks its eleventh ever Pride March – which means, the city’s (and the country’s) gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender brethren will take to the streets to walk for freedom, for love, and for everything in between.
This year is a monumental one as it marks the city’s first ever Pride March after the Supreme Court’s decision to read down parts of Section 377, thus making same-sex relationships legal (and the world a happy place again)!
Which is why, to honour the day and prove how important the cause is, I asked 37 queer folks what #Pride means to them in this (ever-so-slightly) progressive world. Our relationships may be legal on this bright(er) day, but we still have miles to go before we get the rights we deserve: workplace equality, the right to marry, anti-discrimination laws. The list goes on, but the questions don’t.
I asked, and the answers poured in from everywhere. Here’s what they all had to say:
Finally being and cherishing who I am and not giving a damn about what the neighborhood aunties will think.
Not having to assure people that you like ‘girls and boys’.
—Harikesh, legal consultant
Being able to express myself the way I really want to. As the best (and truest) version of myself.
Stop trying to obsessively define queerness. Be inclusive. Be loving. Be kind. Be cool.
In fact, it shouldn’t need a definition. I don’t need to explain what, why or who. Straight people don’t come out or give explanations, so why should we?
Self-acceptance. As a biromantic homosexual, it took me 17 years to accept who I really am.
Not making a conscious effort to hide my sexuality.
Feeling brave enough to wear makeup and heels as a cis man.
—Harshvir, daytime diva
Pride means, to be you.
Not feeling guilty for loving or wanting what your heart truly desires.
—Tanvi, team leader
As a bisexual woman, I want reactions to be ‘OMG tell us about her!’ instead of ‘Oh, so are you gay now?’
—Diya, Netflix addict
Being as proud of your crush as your straight friends are of their’s.
—Ronak, marketing intern
The strength to come out to my parents.
—Soham, not disclosed
Being able to take all the negativity that has been thrown my way, and make it my personal strength.
—Arjun, MBA student
Companies capitalising on a social movement.
—Alankrita, HR professional
It’s plain, pure joy. The joy of homonormalisation!
Professing my love without the fear of trolling.
People not saying things like ‘I’m okay with queers as long as they are not affectionate in public.’
—Hiranmayi, Tumblr connoisseur
It’s all about being someone you’re proud to be and not ashamed to accept.
—Anukul, management trainee
A sense of knowing and appreciating who you really are.
Finding love and the strength to finally come out to my parents.
Educating others about the LGBTQIA+ community and not feeling uncomfortable because of it.
—Prajwal, fashion student
The right to just be. To be treated without prejudice or discrimination, just as an equal.
—Chittajit, science enthusiast
A colourful world.
—Eklavya, college student
Focusing on the rights and freedom of the lesser-known members of the queer spectrum.
—Rakesh, chemical engineer
Pride still means the same, pre or post Section 377: Be yourself unapologetically.
The granting of civil liberties and marriage rights.
—Kavita, panel moderator
Finally owning that runway walk I pretend to do on the streets — fierce and liberated.
Developing positive self-statements.
Greater responsibility to ensure some real change happens in the society.
—Indrajeet, queer rights activist
Loving myself first.
To be more positive towards my sexual orientation and fellow 250 million queer folks around the world.
—Rashi, chartered accountant
Breaking stereotypes, and making straight people realise the different shades of the queer spectrum.
—Rishabh, graphic designer