Queer Parade Makes Bold Statement On Guwahati Streets, Shout Slogans of Pride
• 7th queer parade held in Guwahati
• Queer community and supporter of the community shout slogans
• They came out on the streets to show the society and government that a vibrant community exits
• They assure fellow members of the community that it is alright to be who they are
• Queer people face a lot of harassment in their work place
• Activists think there is a long way to go for society to accept queer people
The queer community of Guwahati proudly hosted the seventh Queer parade on February 9, 2020 which witnessed participation of more than 300 people. It was organised by the youth under the Queer Pride Guwahati Collective. The walk started from Dighalipukhuri park entry opposite the Assam State Museum. Celebrating their identity, the queer community took to the streets of Guwahati shouting slogans.
Firstly, the aim of the pride walk is to come out on the streets and show the society, government and various stakeholders that such a vibrant community exists. Secondly, it is to ask the administration to turn their heads towards the welfare of the community and lastly it is to assure the fellow members of the community that it is alright to be who they are.
It is to be mentioned that even after the decriminalisation of homosexuality by the Supreme Court on September 6, 2018, the condition of the queer community has not improved.
Milind Dutta, a trans man organised the first pride walk seven years ago when he was a female. In a conversation with G Plus, he talked about the changes in the pride walks over the years and said, “I was a female body when I organised the first parade. I am a trans man now. Seven years ago there were only 50 participants and look at the crowd today.”
“I am so happy to see so many people coming out. If someone asks me what I have done in my life, I’ll proudly say that I have organised the pride parade. In the first pride parade people were afraid of coming out. They either covered their faces or said that they are here to support,” he added.
He is now hoping to organise such events in the interior places of Assam like Nalbari, Lakhimpur in Cachar to connect all the people of the LGBTQ community.
The charters of demands of this year’s pride walk are:
• To make NRC process inclusive of transgender people
• Make LGBTQ+ issues a part of school and college curriculum
• Make amends to the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 as per the demands of the transgender community
• Setup a transgender welfare board in Assam
• Provide financial aid for the sex reaffirmation surgery of the trans community
• Provide economic and social welfare schemes to uplift the transgender community
• Follow the instruction of the Supreme Court and promote the 2018 Section 377 judgement by advertising it and help in bringing a positive outlook towards the queer community
• Recognise the groups working on LGBTQ+ issues in the state and engage with them to conduct sensitisation workshop in government setups like healthcare, document making offices, educational institutions, police etc.
Harassments faced by the queer community
Queer people face a lot of harassments in their day-to-day lives. People at their workplace judge them for their identity and ask unwelcoming questions about their sex life. Afraid of losing their jobs, they do not report such instances to their employer.
“We get to hear all types of prude comments every day. People even harass us and try to take out money from us and if we do not give them they beat us,” said Juli, a transgender activist from Guwahati.Juli went on to say that all they want from the society is to accept them the way they are.
In society the acceptance of the community has not really come up. Rubina, a transgender activist from Shillong highlighted on the same and said that the third gender is not being accepted by the society even through the judgement has come from the Supreme Court. “I feel it is still a long way for us to go. People know that they exist but still the acceptance is very low. Especially in the northeast, apart from Manipur the other states are far behind,” said Rubina.
“Despite doing so many sensitisation and awareness programmes the gap still exists in the society. I don’t know when is it actually going to work,” she added.