– Gaayathri, II Visual Arts
Image credits: Haris Manian
Chennai Pride is an annual event that is organised by the Tamil Nadu Rainbow Coalition to celebrate the various gender and sexual identities of the LGBT community. This year marked the 10th Pride Parade that Chennai had and also the second Pride Parade that I have been a part of.
Just like last year, we marched from Rajarathinam Stadium, Egmore to Langs Garden Road which is about 2.5km. The event took place on the 24 June 2018.
There were a lot more people who attended it this year after they came to know about last year’s Parade. It was an explosion of colours, celebration, festivity, and quite obviously, pride.
I saw a large number of familiar faces and met several unfamiliar faces as well. It was a friendly gathering of people who were not ashamed of their identity or expressing themselves. There were a lot of handmade banners and signs and some people had even painted their own t-shirts.
Every year, Chennai’s Pride Parade becomes larger. This is certainly a step towards acceptance of the LGBT community. This, along with the hearing against Section 377, could mean a baby step towards changes and equality for the community.
Straight and Dancing at the Pride Parade
-P.Kavyashree, II B.A. English
I have always danced on stages and in front of a crowd during competitions. On 24 June 2018 at the Pride Parade, I danced on the street to the beats of the parai (one of the oldest drums used in South India) along with a few of my friends. It was a very refreshing experience to be surrounded by people celebrating their identities and spreading only love and positive vibes. Knowing that nobody there was going to judge me for dancing as wildly as I was, I danced my heart out, not caring about how I looked and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was very heart-warming to see my friends and other complete strangers join in on the dancing with nothing but pure joy on their faces.
A few words from Dhipthi Dona J, a fellow street dancer:
“The air of ‘not having any kind of reservations’ is what makes the Pride Parade one of the most joyous social gatherings. Despite being heterosexual, I feel ostracized on various levels and the Parade opens up space, breaking down the suffocating walls of societal norms. It is extremely liberating to dance in the middle of the road, an act which is considered scandalous and blasphemous for a girl of nineteen brought up in a ‘highly reputed sanskari family’. Moreover, where else do you get to shake a leg in the company of a purely happy bunch of people who are celebrating the fact that they don’t have to lock themselves up in the closet and pretend to be non-existent?”