From rejecting the Transgender Bill to showing solidarity with other mainstream issues like Kashmir, Ayodhya, and Right to Affordable Education, the citizens were united in showing their anger against the BJP government’s recent policies at the 2019 Queer Pride Parade in Delhi.
The national capital saw its 12th Queer Pride Parade on Sunday, 24th November, as thousands from the community and allies thronged the streets. While queer pride parades are generally synonymous will celebrating homosexuality and denouncing the homophobia in the society, in 2019, it was not just a vibrant party but a serious protest.
In 2019, the Delhi Queer Pride Parade was not just a vibrant party but a serious protest.
Citizens gathered and marched from the Barakhamba Road intersection to Jantar Mantar in colourful dresses and vivid posters. At the heart of the bill was the Transgender Bill 2019 which activists have termed regressive and disrespectful. Hundreds of vibrant placards sent across a loud message: Send the Trans Bill to Select Committee.
But that was not all. The 2019 LGBTQ+ parade of Delhi was symbolic of the current state of affairs in the country. There was general angst in the air. Distrust and disappointment in the current government’s policy decisions. In fact, the protesters made themselves heard on more than one issue – Ayodhya, Kashmir and the Right to Affordable Education.
We look at all the messages that the 2019 Delhi LGBTQ+ parade aimed to send across.
The Transgender Persons Rights Bill (2019): Issue at the Core of the Protest
Tabled in the Rajya Sabha on 20 November 2019, the Transgender Persons Rights Bill (2019) is mooted to bring the group into the mainstream. But parts of the bill are regressive and downright humiliating for the trans community. Activists have denounced the bill stating that it is oblivious to the problems at the core of their angst.
Last year, the Supreme Court decriminalised Section 377. So, that gave impetus to the community to come forward as ask for their rightful place in society. However, the bill has disappointed the queer.
Ignoring the Trans Opinion
First and foremost, the bill denounces the transgender opinion by not taking the community onboard during the formulation process. Secondly, the bill disrespects the community in the sheer ignorance of policymakers. The draft refers to intersex and transgender persons interchangeably although there are inherent differences.
Snatching the Right to Self-Identification
Then there is a clause that snatches the right of a transgender person to self-identify their gender and orientation. The legislation contains a provision for district-level committees to certify applicants as transgender people based on an inspection by doctors and reps. This is directly in defiance of the right to self-determination established by the NALSA judgment.
Apathy towards mainstream discrimination
Furthermore, the 2018 bill criminalised begging by transgender persons such as the hijras. However, this is apathetic towards the community which faces discrimination in mainstream opportunities of liveliness. Often, such trans people are left with ritualistic begging as the only option to earn.
Other Issues Raised – Ayodhya, Kashmir, and Right to Affordable Education
Slogans and placards also showed solidarity with JNU’s protest in defense of the right to affordable education. Then there was solidarity with Kashmir and also denouncing the Kinnar Akhada’s stand on Ayodhya verdict. Furthermore, there were subtle remarks on the current wear economic state in the country.
Queer pride parades are generally associated with vibrancy and the colourful atmosphere of a party. It is rather unfortunate though, that a particular community is so much at odds with the orthodoxy and fanaticism in society that it has to ensure its demands do not come across as fiery and threatening. No other protests need to take up such a harmless persona in order to voice its angst and demand rights.
That said, the Delhi Queer Pride Parade 2019 was also an evolution of sorts in the message the protesters sent out. While the core issue at the heart of the protesters was the regressive Trans Bill, the protest was loud and vocal in its denouncing of the BJP government’s policies. In short, the protest reverberated with the short but strong message: The Citizens are Unhappy with the Government and Demand a Change!