Like Lady Gaga’s song Born This Way became an anthem for the LGBTQIA+ community, the 8th edition of Pune Pride Walk too was a big celebration with people participating in large numbers. On June 3, the Samapathik Trust organised its 8th edition of the annual Pune Pride Walk, which began at 11.10 am with rainbow flags in the lead followed by the Trusts’ banner. The participants held placards like, ‘We are here, we are queer’, ‘Say no to Homophobia’, and megaphones were used to propagate slogans in support of the march. At the end of the parade, the participants sang the song Hum Honge Kaamyaab Ek Din to show their solidarity and support for one another.
We caught up with a few members:
Eight years ago, the first pride parade saw the participation of 93 people. This year, a phenomenal number of 800+ people marched in support of LGBTQIA+ rights. Out of the 800, around 40 per cent of the participants are straight allies — friends, family, colleagues, corporate and NGO staff. Grand marshals like Darshana Vyas (director of Pathfinder International Pune), Vivek Roy (CEO of Humsafar Trust), Tinesh Chopade (gay rights’ activist), Sowmya (transgender rights’ activist working for INFOSEM), and Umang (a group of lesbians, bisexual women and transmen) also marched.
— Bindumadhav Khire
(President of Samapathik Trust, Pune)
Attending Pune Pride Parade 2018 was an unparalleled experience. The joy of seeing people chanting slogans in support of the LGBTQIA+ community was extremely fun and heartening. Throughout the march, I had a huge grin on my face and I didn’t mind the sore throat I had after all the cheering. Everyone was dressed beautifully. Pune’s support of queer power was shown and it was wonderful to walk alongside people I could call a family. Walking underneath the LGBTQIA+ pride flag allowed me to feel the waves of love and support. Seeing people holding hands, squealing with joy, holding elaborate slogan boards, and walking as one was a life-changing experience.
— Harshal Jayawant
(A 21-year-old queer transsexual man)
Pune Pride Parade 2018 had a great footfall and an atmosphere filled with enthusiasm and energy. It was amazing to see MNCs coming in and marching to support the LGBTQIA+ community. Some parents had also joined to support their children. Seeing an 11-year-old girl taking part in the parade alongside her mother made me realise how Pune has been receptive to change and acceptance. The Pride walk is one that has to be loved. There are colours, people dressed in different attires, and proud allies marching together, hoping for unity.
— Sumedha Chakraborty
(A 21-year-old Media graduate, currently working at Predii as a content analyst and senior volunteer of Responsible Charity)
This year was the first Pride march I ever attended and it was one of the most liberating experiences I have ever had. I am a bisexual and I am out to most of my friends but none of my family. There is this strange sense of empowerment to be openly queer in public, to know that you are loved and there are others who are undergoing the same experiences. After being with so many wonderful and sweet people who attended the parade, I do not understand how society at large feels threatened by our demand for love, acceptance and the right to live a dignified life. The Pride Parade was awesome. I am guessing there were some 800 odd people attending it. The best thing about it were the bystanders; some were confused and bewildered while some seemed to be genuinely excited. I also happened to eavesdrop on a conversation between two friends where one of them very eloquently explained the other about the whole queer rights issue. We need allies like him.
— partho Kar (An engineer)