Guwahati: Rainbow Pride Walk Sunday (Pictures)
There are now pride marches in Bhopal, Lucknow and Panaji, Nagpur, Guwahati and Chandigarh. The tone is not one of rebellion, but a reminder: we’re here, we’re part of the community too.
Take Guwahati. It hosted its first pride march in 2014. “But we realised the city was not ready for it,” says Bitopi Dutta, founder of the NGO Xukia. “First, the police shooed us away, saying we didn’t need permission for such a march because Assam has no LGBTQ people. We had to pull down our Facebook page after a backlash from locals. We hosted a pride walk anyway and about 50 people participated. The media didn’t cover it at all.”
Guwahati didn’t have another march until 2016. But meanwhile, the gay community began to coalesce; they now had a place to go, at least metaphorically.
“After the first pride walk, people started talking to us. They didn’t know there was a gay community in the city. Now NGOs were telling them it was okay to be different,” says gay rights activist Milin Sutra. “We started meeting in small groups, hosting seminars in colleges, and even an LGBTQ film festival.”
Last year, 200 people walked in the pride march. “There were people from Shillong and Tezpur too,” says Dutta. This year’s Pride Parade - Guwahati is on February 9. Police permission was not a problem.
Source: Lavina Mulchandani |Hindustan Times