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Happy Pride from Delhi!

Rainbow balloons, drum beats, and fabulous humans from all genders, sexualities, and backgrounds filled the Delhi streets on Sunday at the 9th annual Delhi Queer Pride.

Organized by the Delhi Queer Pride Committee and supported only by community funds, the pride marked nearly a decade of Pride-related organized queer visibility in Delhi.

But it wasn’t all jubilation: Pride was as much a time of anger and remembrance as it was one of solidarity and re-energization. This year’s pride demands included some long-standing demands on the state related specifically to LGBT issues, as well as the expression of solidarity with related struggles.

Participants in the march decried the non-implementation of the NALSA judgement, a landmark Supreme Court judgement acknowledging sweeping rights for transgender Indians, including the right to have identification matching one’s chosen gender without need for medical procedures. While many queer and trans activists have lauded the decision and advocated for more along those lines, a recent bill ostensibly securing the judgement’s provisions in law was met with widespread disapproval for failing to adequately implement the ruling.

The march demanded the repeal of an 1860 British anti-sodomy law Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. 377 prohibits “carnal intercourse against the order of nature,” and includes anal and oral sex. While the law is not just geared toward LGBT communities—technically, heterosexual anal and oral sex would come under its provinces—its enforcement has specifically targeted queer populations, especially transgender, sex working, and begging trans people. There have only been several hundred cases brought to court under the law in its over 150 years of existence, resulting in a handful of convictions, but blackmail, terrorizing, and policing of LGBT populations under the threat of its auspices continues to affect especially the most vulnerable of India’s LGBT population. While a Delhi High Court Case struck down the law in 2009 as unconstitutional, the Indian Supreme Court overturned that decision to re-establish it in 2013. The legal and social battle against 377 continues.

Attendees also raised slogans for justice for Tara, a trans woman who died after enduring brutal treatment by police in Chennai. Tara had been taken to the police station for being a sex worker, and at the station she endured brutality at the police officers’ hands. Afterward, in a story too familiar to trans activists both in India and the US, she died in front of the station in circumstances the police called a suicide, but which activists are calling a forced suicide due to the violence she had endured. Protests around the country following Tara’s death raged against police violence against trans women, whose lack of state and social acceptance means they are often economically vulnerable with little protections from police.

Finally, marchers protested the crackdown on dissent under the Modi government, the rise of nationalistic jingoism and anti-minority violence, and the exclusion of marital rape from Indian rape laws, among other connected struggles. They highlighted the intersectionality of queer struggles in India (and indeed, around the world), expressing solidarity with diverse struggles from the Dalit uprisings in Una, Gujarat to the continued struggle of the Kashmiri people against state violence.

After the march, participants assembled at the public protest site Jantar Mantar for an open mic performance of rage, resistance, and, of course, drag. It was a beautiful afternoon and a beautiful reminder of the potent mix of joy and rage that characterizes intersectional queer struggle, summed up perfectly in the organizers’ statement:

When we take to the streets on Sunday, we will walk as queer people who imagine a queer world that is anti-caste, feminist, sex and body positive. We will walk in support of a rising tide of Dalits, muslims, women, disabled, Kashmiris, people in the North East, adivasis, academics, filmmakers and students in resistance against the forces that threaten our freedoms. This Pride, we resist freedoms that come with conditions and assert justice for all. If some of us aren’t free, no one is.

Here’s to resisting freedoms that come with conditions in queer struggles around the world.

Reina Gattuso is passionate about empowering conversations around queerness, sexual ethics, and social movements with equal parts rhapsody and sass. Her writing has appeared at Time, Bitch, attn:, and The Washington Post. She is currently pursuing a masters degree in Indian cinema, theater, and visual art at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

Reina Gattuso writes about her sex life for the good of human kind.

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