The Kids Are Sleeping

I have been doing this, marching, since I am a kid. I used to go on my dad’s shoulders and march with him and my mum, as my sister was to small for all the crowd, was just us three.

Its 8am on a Sunday. Like every morning, the sun is up in the beautiful city of Mumbai. The boys and girls are sleeping. The tropical birds sing their songs like every morning and there is this calm in the air that refreshes your mind and your soul.

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Our community is all asleep, as yesterday was a big day for all of us. A day to march. Gays, lesbians, transgenders, bisexuals and all the straight friends supporters, went downtown south and marched. We marched one more time, like every year. We marched for our rights, for our voices to be heard, for our differences to be accepted, for our love to be loved. And then came the euphoria and the G-party. I didn’t go that far into the night, my responsibility as a gay man and the fun of it, stopped at the march, but I know that all of my queer community friends made their way into the club to scream out loud this day of freedom.

For many of you this may sound unimportant, or a gay thing to do, or I don’t know, just nothing to do with you. Isn’t it? Like so many other things that have nothing to do with us. Like women rights, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, freedom of religion, fighting for uncivilised rules by autocratic leaders, etc, etc, etc…

I have been doing this, marching, since I am a kid. I used to go on my dad’s shoulders and march with him and my mum, as my sister was to small for all the crowd, was just us three. My parents were always ready for a march. They taught me well, they taught me that everybody’s freedom is also our individual freedom, that if others suffer and are helpless to defend themselves, is our duty as democratic citizens to have their gasping voices heard.

So we marched many times, later the four of us, for unfair taxations, minorities, bad laws, oppression and so many things. My parents taught me well and it sticked to my blood.

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Yesterday in between thousands of queer friends, and straight friends supporting our community, I felt at home, I felt like a kid again. There were so many young Indians, girls and boys who needed to come out to the streets to protest, to shout loud, to smile, to kiss, to love and to tell Mumbai we are here and we are not going anywhere.

India, when it comes to human rights, is really not the country to incarnate. With the current oblivious government, the conflicts between minorities, religions and casts is growing even deeper. A strong sense of patriotic cause allowing anything undemocratic to be accepted for progress and economic growth. Like most of the world, India, is going through a huge wave of right wing nationalistic change, well disguised to the eyes of many.

The kids are sleeping. Yesterday was a big day, a day to remember. It will stay with us until it vanishes, in the constrains of a country who criminalises your sexuality, or a family who laughs at you, our a society (neighbourhood) that denounces you.

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The kids don’t want to wake up. Waking up is pain, waking up is not freedom anymore, waking up is facing all the obstacles, with your chin up and a smile, while hiding yourself again and again.

#itgetsbehtar was the hashtag at the pride walk. We have to constantly remind us of this. I thought I didn’t have to, coming for a Mediterranean country where no one cares about your sexual orientation, your religion, your family name or your nationality. Today if we march in Spain or Portugal is only for love. But no! the fight isn’t over here. My parents were right. We have to keep fighting and we have to remember ourselves that #itgetsbehtar. Specially now, with so many growing constraints worldwide, our freedom is at risk and we have to fight, we have to march, we have to protest, we have to leave our hangovers, our sofas and TVs, our AC cars, our wardrobes and our night plans, we have to go out there and protest. We have to keep fighting before our voices shut of fear, before the voices of our friends, and our neighbours stop being heard.

About the guest author

Luis Roy

Designer, writer, thinker but most of all a human being. I love to get lost in city lanes and discover the world again and again. I am from south Europe but my home is now India where I fall in love.