Tracing the Rainbow: The History of Pride Month in India

Tracing the Rainbow: The History of Pride Month in India

In the heart of every revolution lies a story of struggle, courage, resilience, and ultimately, triumph. The tale of Pride Month in India encapsulates these elements and then some more. As the world moves towards acceptance and equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community, let's pause and reflect on how far India has come in its journey towards inclusivity.

While Pride Month is traditionally a global commemoration in June, drawing its roots from the Stonewall riots in New York City in 1969, its echoes resonate differently in the Indian context. The acknowledgment of Pride in India has emerged from an equally arduous fight for rights, recognition, and respect.

India's tryst with sexual identities dates back thousands of years, with texts like the Kama Sutra and characters in epic stories such as Mahabharata openly discussing and portraying diverse sexualities. But the onset of colonial rule brought laws like Section 377, an archaic law that criminalized homosexual acts, creating a chasm of fear, discrimination, and repression.

The fight against these regressive norms started gaining momentum in the late 20th century, with the first significant public protest happening in 1992, led by the AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan (ABVA). In their groundbreaking publication, 'Less Than Gay,' ABVA called for the repeal of Section 377 and equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community.

The first pride parade, known as the 'Friendship Walk,' took place in Kolkata in 1999. The event, mostly attended by NGOs and activist groups, served as a catalyst, encouraging more discussions and awareness around LGBTQIA+ rights. The wave of Pride parades eventually swept across India, with cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chennai, and more, joining in.

However, it wasn't until 2009 that India witnessed a significant legal victory. The Delhi High Court, in a landmark judgment, decriminalized consensual homosexual acts among adults, stating that the law was in violation of fundamental rights. But this victory was short-lived as the Supreme Court of India overruled the judgment in 2013, reinstating Section 377.

This setback only fueled the determination of activists, and it ignited a nationwide discourse on LGBTQIA+ rights. Indians from diverse walks of life began expressing solidarity with the cause, demanding an end to the draconian law. Celebrities, influencers, corporations, politicians, and common citizens, everyone raised their voices in unison against the injustice.

After relentless fights and countless voices of protest, the battle was finally won on September 6, 2018. The Supreme Court decriminalized homosexuality, stating that sexual orientation was a 'biological phenomenon' and that discrimination on this basis was violative of fundamental rights. The judgment marked a significant milestone in the journey of Pride in India.

Since then, Pride Month has been celebrated with fervor across India. While the Indian Pride Month is officially marked in November, Indian LGBTQIA+ communities and allies also celebrate the global Pride Month in June. These celebrations are not only about parades and parties but also involve educating the public about the community's history, struggles, and victories. As a brand, we always promote products for all, including products for the LGBTQ+ community as well.

Today, India's LGBTQIA+ movement is more visible and vocal than ever before. However, the fight is far from over, and consent in sexual health is extremely important. Despite decriminalizing homosexuality, India still has a long way to go in terms of social acceptance, equal rights, marriage laws, and non-discrimination policies. The journey towards a truly inclusive India continues!
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