Unless you live under a rock, or in a bubble of bigotry, you probably heard that Mumbai’s annual Queer Azaadi Pride March was held last weekend at August Kranti Maidan on February 2. It was Mumbai’s first Pride march post the writing down of Section 377 on 6/9/2018 last year (yay!), and was well attended by more than 15,000 people who showed up to paint Mumbai streets in rainbow shades for the day.
It was also my first Pride march, and as a cis-hetero ally I now know I seriously missed out on it all these years. Needless to say, there was a lot of love going around (getting poked in the eye by someone’s sign or hit in the face with a Pride flag—all forgiven without so much as a ‘sorry’) and a lot of laughter. I was also being a bit of a creep and listening in on all the conversations going on around me. Here’s what I caught:
1. “Hey! Your mom let you come??”
“I told her I’m gonna go be so gay at the parade!”
2. “…At Pride in New York they have Google and Facebook sponsor these HUGE floats and they have all these sponsored flags. There isn’t any of that here, and it feels so much more authentic. It’s so much more protest-y. I love how this feels!”
3. “I look like a gay little schoolboy… I love it!”
4. (Someone’s sign fell down, so they picked it up, handed it over with a huge smile, saying)
“I’d pick you up too if I weren’t married.”
5. “Have you seen Nikhil? Where is he?”
“Nikhil, unlike all of us here, is busy getting laid.”
6. (One of my favourite chants)
“Paida kiya hai, saath bhi denge (We gave birth to them and we’ll stick by them)! We are parents, rainbow parents!”
7. “Tu aake yahan feminism ka danda khada kar ( This here is the place for you to put up your feminism stand).”
8. (About their sign)
“Oh God, I hope I’ve been holding it straight.”
“Don’t be a bigot.”
9. (Trying to find their friend)
“Bro, Society tea, Society tea! Run to the Society tea bus stop, don’t walk just because it’s a march.”
10. (More times than I could count)
Hearsay isn’t always bad. Here’s to more Pride, less Section 377, and lots of queer azaadi (freedom).
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