right to pride

Hyderabad Police has denied permission to carry on LGBT Pride Parade in Hyderabad. Every citizen in a democracy has the right to peaceful protest, and here we are not even talking about a protest, this is a Pride March. That one needs permission to be proud of one’s identity is weird enough, to deny permission is simply outrageous. It seems the denial is not final, more details on this would follow. Please keep an eye on this space. Meanwhile spread the word. Below is a public statement by activist Aditya Bondyopadhyay:

“I am sorry to inform you about the blatant state sponsored homophobia exhibited by the Hyderabad Police when they refused permission today for the Hyderabad Pride Parade. This is just a prior warning. Things will become clearer when actual communique from them will be received on Monday. But may be the time has come when the queer community of Hyderabad (and of India as a whole) needs to take a stand and say “ENOUGH and NO MORE” to such hooliganism in uniform. To march peaceably is our constitutional fundamental right. The courtesy of seeking permission should not be mistaken as weakness…people should be ready now to make sacrifices…the struggle is long from over.”

Some of you might not even know what Queer Pride is. Read my earlier post to understand what it is and to read about the various annual queer pride events in many Indian cities.

“People should be now ready to make sacrifices” – I particularly liked this statement made by Aditya. In June, 2008 I had written an article ‘It is time to stand up and stand tall‘ where I tried making this point. I would quote myself,

“…unless the society gets to see an upsurge of people calling themselves gay / lesbian / transgendered / transexual or simply put NOT heterosexual; unless the number of people calling themselves queer is large enough and the faces known enough would the society realize it is not something so unnatural after all…And this responsibility lies with the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) people themselves to come out of their closets and be confident of their sexuality. It’s time to stand up and stand tall. I think enough have been said and written about LGBT rights already its high time each one every such person, start asserting their rights themselves. You can’t seek respect from others unless you respect yourself and respecting yourself would mean being comfortable with your sexuality.”

I ask our celebrities, our actors, film makers, musicians, writers, politicians and social activists, why don’t we have a self proclaimed self respecting Queer among them? Where is our Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, Elton John, Ellen DeGeneres and Rupert Everette?

Am I to understand that there are none? Is that possible?

I don’t understand why we keep our identities hidden in the name of a false sense of privacy. I suggest we stop taking our privacy so seriously, and let the world know what sexual preferences we have.

If at all the gay men had a fear of being harassed by the cops because of Section 377 of the IPC, that fear too is now gone.

So dear queer people, if this is a fight for freedom, all be prepared to shed some blood. Come out, take up the flag and proceed with your march, if need be take up that weapon and fight. Don’t keep waiting for the NGOs and activists to fight this battle, time each one of you come out.

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