The vibrancy of love scraped the patriarchal air of Kolkata as people marched from Esplanade Y Channel to Park Circus Maidan celebrating the Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk 2016. The event started around 2:15pm at the Esplanade Y channel and ended around 4:45pm after the participants gathered at the Park Circus Maidan. The winter sun borrowed its warmth from the multifarious expressions of love; people sported their jubilant dresses with joy and for those few hours, each and every one of us could forget the shackle choking our existence. Happy faces sketched the pain of living in a country that restricts our expression of love, that excludes a certain section of its people from the institution of marriage and pays no heed to the crimes inflicted upon a person because of their sexuality.
Liberty bestowed its colours upon the sparkling nose rings, the hair clips, the necklaces, the dresses. The liberty to wear anything without being questioned!! The liberty to flaunt that special neck-piece which you can’t because the society defines your sexuality by your genitals!! The liberty to choose your partner!! And this liberty made everyone happy. The feeling of wearing anything without being questioned or derided, the feeling of being with anyone without being stereotyped brought out the best in everyone. People walked in their choicest of attires. People gathered around to look at the participants, with awe. The look on their faces was of bewilderment. They stared at the pamphlets, sceptical of the content.
Biologically male human beings didn’t hesitate to flaunt their dazzling nose ring. The couple from kinky community openly marched with a flogger. The hijras chatted in their normal tone without being mocked by anyone. Maintaining the huge crowd was not easy. There were crossings, there were ambulances but organizers and volunteers made it clear to the people of the city that we are not here to disrupt the life of the city; we are here to show everyone that we exist, that human beings cannot be judged on the basis of their reproductive organs. Reproduction is not the main priority of loving another person. Love is not about reproduction. Reproduction is a choice lover’s make. Liberty is our right, be it any form of liberty, be it any kind of liberty.
Section 377 bears the germs of colonial hangover and still stands strong deriving its aid from various religions. It criminalises the practice of marriage by the LGBTQ+ people. In this world, full of people belonging to a wide range of sexualities, only the heterosexuals of our country are allowed to get married. Each and every other day, human beings like Tara get abused and murdered. But the government is ignorant. The government is stubborn. The government keeps on practising its patriarchal values. Heterosexuals, gays, lesbians, queer and numerous other people with numerous other sexualities took part in the walk to support and show that divided by sexualities, we are united by love and this love, is our strongest weapon.
We dare to love and loving each other, we will fight against this oppression of the government, this message was made clear to everyone. The slogans, the posters highlighted this very fact in their own ways. It’s not just about freedom from this law, it’s about freedom from any form of fascism. It might be related to the political scenario of the country, it might be related to a particular gender. Love is about the consent of two individuals. A third person or party cannot and shouldn’t interfere here.
The demand for ‘Azadi’ gave strength to the rainbow flag. Academicians, social workers, lawyers and people from various spheres of work participated to show their support, irrespective of their gender, irrespective of their career. That’s what made the walk so special. The walk has not been about the LGBTQ+ community alone. It’s for anyone and everyone because all of us are a part of the marvellous human species. The dark clouds of patriarchy can never suppress the rainbow from growing and spreading its light.
Aparajita Dutta is a writer and works with the Civilian Welfare Foundation.
Opinions expressed here are that of the writer.