On Saturday, I attended my first Mumbai Pride march. I have been part of it in other cities as a baby-queer, and it was a space in which I, a queer person from a Savarna family, was introduced to intersectional politics. Although I have never been part of the organizing committee, I have heard about the many obstacles that organizers navigate in order to organize it every year. Or in Mumbai’s case, for the first time in 4 years.
By now, you may have heard about how the volunteers/organizers aggressively told off and stopped people who were walking as part of Pride and chanting political slogans. I was one of them who was chanting along to the Jai Bhim, and after a while, when that stopped, I assumed that it may be because the group got tired as it was a hot day.
Also read: Dear Mumbai Pride, the Personal is Political
Soon after, I joined in the chanting of ‘Free Palestine’, until one of the organizers aggressively asked the people leading it to “step out” saying that the cause of Palestine has nothing to do with queerness and that we were simply sensationalizing and capitalizing on a trending hot topic.
The Zionist colonization and the appropriation of queer liberatory ideas by the Israeli Defence Forces to pinkwash their military aggressions is not only the concern of people marching for Pride, but also for those belonging to a decolonizing Global South. We don’t believe in the white man’s institutional efforts to “civilize” us and teach us the ways of queerness. We voice against the hierarchies worsened by white imperialism and Brahmanical patriarchy, as much as we defend our right to be queer.
While it is understandable that the organizers are at the mercy of permissions received from the authorities, and do their best to organize a peaceful rally, it is not okay to tell people that their politics must be kept away from their queer Pride. After all, Pride belongs to each of us, those who have the privilege to show up and those of us who don’t – the walk is to advocate for queer liberation for all, not just for a few.