What Does Pride Look Like?

When you realise your boss only does off-the-record, early morning catch-ups with you alone as soon as he discovered you are the gay lead in a play. Off work, he continues to single-handedly use his position of power to intimidate and invalidate you, without ever mentioning your sexuality.

TW: sexual harassment

When you see your life mirrored in an Amazon Prime series, it’s a proud moment for you.

“Made in Heaven” examines how queer people get kicked out of their homes, face housing discrimination and humiliation.

It was pre-377, and the first time I decided to live alone. Few months down the road, I was removed from the security of my home, verbally harassed by cops and my genitalia was made fun of, despite me being fully clothed. The privacy of my being was violated as cops scrolled through my phone, jeeringly calling my friends “gender-inverts”; they went through all of its contents without a warrant. I vividly remember how my landlady “recoiled” looking at a trans person who came over to my home, a few days after Namma Pride in Bengaluru.

I then moved to a second home due to this eviction. In this new home, my landlord used his CCTV to undress me and my neighbours who were single girls, sexualising and dehumanising us with constant threats – lecherously living off our harassment. He gaslit and verbally abused us, and even withheld a deposit of Rs. 29000 months after I vacated his home, despite having no legal claim to do so. He left no stone unturned in making me feel unsafe in my own home – by bringing in iron pipes and walking menacingly, to ringing doorbells at midnight.

This is just a fraction of the abuse I faced when living alone as an out and open, proud queer.

What does pride feel like?

When you realise your boss only does off-the-record, early morning catch-ups with you alone as soon as he discovered you are the gay lead in a play. Off work, he continues to single-handedly use his position of power to intimidate and invalidate you, without ever mentioning your sexuality.

I felt pride in my disempowerment.

What does pride look like?

When you come walking back from a Pride march with glitter and make-up, drenched in sweat, and a random stranger casually winks to his friend and loudly says: “Do their parents know what they are wearing here?”

Your hands curl tighter around the banner that says, “Beauty and grace, Totally Ace!”
You see your pride mirrored in your teary but firm resolve.

What is pride?

When you are returning home in an auto at midnight, after a really long day, and the driver stops his vehicle to pee, and instead asks you to suck him off for a free ride, parked in the middle of nowhere.

The liberation you feel when you sprint half a mile, without looking back, having been an asthmatic is…?

Our survival is pride.

About the guest author

Raju Behara

Raju Behara is genderqueer, panromantic, neurodivergent greysexual. They have been working with pharma and healthcare industry for over seven years. They are a student of public health and policy at IIPH and are currently serving as the National President of AIQA, Ambedkarite feminist queer union, are a peer support provider, aligned with Safe Access., and also work with other queer feminist collectives. They enjoy writing poetry on queer issues and on mental health., and spending time with their cat Maya.