Pride: The celebration of self

Pride is a movement of self affirmation, equality, dignity and increasing visibility of the LGBTQ+ community. LGBTQ+ community includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer, asexual and everything in between. The pride movement celebrates the spectrum of sexuality.

Pride as a movement is a opposition to the social stigma and shame that surrounds the community, and bolsters the LGBT movements. The month of June is celebrated as the Pride month all over the globe. Common symbol of pride is the rainbow, which is the pride flag.

The historic origin

The Stonewall Riot is often considered as the birth of modern LGBTQ+ rights movement. The first pride parade was held one year after Stonewall riot incident, on 28 June 1970. The parade was then known as Christopher Street Liberation Day March, named after the street on which Stonewall was located.

Back then, the largest LGBTQ+ rights rally was a silent yearly vigil known as the “The Annual Remainder” held in Philadelphia. The event was a remainder to American people that a substantial number of American citizens were denied the right to life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness. It was a sober and orchestrated event. It was a silent event, and both men and women had formal dress code. However after Stonewall riot, the need of an entirely new event arose.

Unlike the Annual Remainder, these new marches had no formal and gender- normative dress code. Rather, the marchers were encouraged to be themselves. It celebrated being gay with utmost pride.

Important people related to the initial movement

The Pride movement was not a one day thing. It took a lot of courage and determination to go ahead with this movement. It was due to the prime contribution of some individuals that we today celebrate the month of June as pride month.
• Mattachine Society, which was one of earlier LGBTQ+ right group in United States.
• Craig Rodwell, a member of Mattachine Society, originally came up with the idea of The Annual Remainder.
• Fred Sargeant was one who organisers of the first march.
• Ellen Brody and Linda Rhodes, activists who along with Rodwell and Sargeant attended the Eastern Regional Conference of Homophile Organisation (ERCHO) in Philadelphia and proposed the resolution of holding a annual march on last Sunday of June to commemorate Stonewall.
• Brenda Howard, known as “Mother of Pride” coordinated week long series of event around the Pride day.
• Activist L. Craig Schoonmaker, the one who suggested the world “Pride” instead of “gay power”.
• Gilbert Baker, designed the Pride flag.

Pride Movement in India

In context of India, the Pride movement had a long struggle. During British Rule in 1860, homosexual intercourse was considered a criminal offence under Chapter 16, Section 377 of Indian Penal Code. Post independence, the right to equality was implemented on 26 November 1949, however homosexuality remained a criminal offence.

The first gay protest was conducted on 11 August 1992. In 1999, Kolkata hosted the first Gay Pride parade, however it was a small affairs with only 15 attendees. In 2009 the high court of Delhi held that considering consensual homosexual intercourse between two adults as a crime is violation of fundamental right to equality. However this was overturned by the supreme court in 2013.

Shashi Tharoor introduced the bill to decriminalise homosexuality in the year 2015, however it was rejected by Lok Sabha. In August 2017, the Supreme Court upheld the right to privacy as a fundamental right under the Constitution in the landmark Puttuswamy judgement, giving LGBTQ+ community a new hope. On September 6, 2018, the supreme court decriminalised homosexuality by scrapping Section 377, calling it unconstitutional.
The scrapping of Section 377 has been a partial win for the LGBTQ+ community. However a long battle is still ongoing. The battle is long, but the community is winning small successes.