On Sunday, Kolkata witnessed queer rage and solidarity on the occasion of the 16th Kolkata Rainbow Pride March. The event was preceded by more than an hour long protest against the Transgender Person (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016 which violates the guarantee of self-determination for transgender individuals that was afforded by the Supreme Court’s NALSA verdict in 2014.

Shiv-Parvati emerges into one
Conveying an important political message
Happy faces at Pride 1
Smashing the patriarchy in style

Organizers of the Kolkata Rainbow Pride Festival (KRPF) distributed leaflets emphasizing the dangerous implications of the Bill as well as the Indian government’s vote against a recent United Nations resolution that unequivocally condemned the punishment of death penalty for same-sex relations in several countries across the world. However, it also lauded a recent verdict of the Supreme Court of India that has legally acknowledged privacy as a fundamental incontrovertible right, also simultaneously recognizing the right to privacy of people who have suffered discrimination owing to their non-normative sexual and gender identities.

Also Read: India Advocates Death Penalty For Consensual Same-Sex Relationships

However, given the prejudiced nature of our state and society, there is still a long way forward towards justice and equality for LGBTQIA+ people and communities in India. Owing to the lack of political will of our ruling elite, the vulnerable existence of queer people at the margins is perilously stabilized. In order to battle precarity bred through the state’s dismissive neglect of non-normative identities, there is a lot to be rallied for. Visibility is fundamental among them.

Things patriarchy does not want you to say
Down with the gender binary!
Love and friendship at Pride
Saying it like it is.

Each year, Pride Marches make subversive attempts to celebrate queer identities and expressions and have them reclaim public spaces with great flourish. Kolkata was no different this year. Queer people and their allies marched down city streets shouting slogans of freedom from patriarchy, caste, capitalism, right-wing politics and heteronormativity.

Queer angels have rainbow wings
Happy faces at Pride 2
Happy faces at Pride 2

There was sloganeering, which called for the normalization of queer relationships in diverse forms asserting individual choice, bodily autonomy and sexual freedom. The parade offered moments of radical queer solidarity and camaraderie that was imbued with the hope for a better, and more accommodating, future.

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Also Read: In Photos: Bangalore Namma Pride March 2017

About the author(s)

Sohini Chatterjee holds an MA in International Relations from South Asian University, New Delhi. She researches and writes on gender, culture and politics. Her writing has appeared in Kindle Magazine, Cafe Dissensus Everyday, Huffington Post India, Coldnoon: Travel Poetics, The Lookout Journal etc.

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