Photo Essay: After 377, What Do Desi-Queers Want?

On 25th November, Delhi hosted its first Pride March after Supreme Court of India partially decriminalised Section 377 of IPC, and we ventured out to know from those who walked the pride march about how they feel, and what changes do they see in this pride. We also asked them about what hopes they have for the future of the community. Here are the responses:

A Collaborative Project between Sk Raqeeb Raza and Sahil Dahiya.

Mother: “I feel good… but it takes time”, the son says, “I came out to her yesterday and this is her first pride so she’s still sinking in the environment… I look forward to marriage equality and non-discriminatory rights for the community”.


One of the friends, “I feel that people are definitely happier and they should be and more GAY!” The other friend resonates, “The change wouldn’t be immediately visible, I feel. But, yes, they know for sure, that the barriers have been broken. So, it’s going to be a great time”.


“I am so excited!!! I see hope, I see all positive things, I don’t think about negativity right now because that’s hate, right? And this is pride, and we are here to celebrate”.


“We hope that there’s marriage equality because that’s naturally the next step. And a lot of people are still unaware that the scrapping of 377 does not grant marriage equality. This place is really, really kind. Everyone’s so kind towards each other. Everyone’s so happy. It’s joyous”. 


One of the friends, “This is my first pride and I spoke to a few people and they said, this is like the ‘biggest pride’ turnout in the last 4-5 years and I think that’s sensational. The crowd is amazing”. The second friend continues, “It’s incredible to see people of all age groups. I mean there are babies and senior citizens, all at one place. It is refreshing to see that”.


“I feel jubilant, I feel ecstasy. The point that we can come out and celebrate our existence rather than just asserting it is the most beautiful feeling ever… People who were in masks until last year have their masks off and are REALLY out there… My mother doesn’t know I am here, but I AM HERE…”


“Finally SC took the right step and I feel joyous… There are no drastic changes right away, but people are freer since we cannot be legally prosecuted for being ourselves anymore. On the social front, things haven’t changed and they need to”.


One of the friends, “I think people are more excited and they are more open about their sexual orientation and they are prouder than ever.” The second friend adds, “I hope people will start coming out more because they are still scared to come out The pride should motivate people to come out and celebrate”.


“I think it’s pretty similar to other countries in the sense that the common thing in all pride is ‘JOY’. And despite the problems in a society, there’s always joy, happiness, singing, and dancing. That’s what makes pride so special”.


First friend, “The energy and the vibe has changed from previous years and I see people around me affected by the change in the law as well. We have a long way to go but I see it happening, I see positive change happening”. The second friend adds, “The law has changed but the people also need to change. There should be a positive change in people’s mindset”.


First friend: “We feel really really happy that so many people have turned up. The joy is resonating with us. This is the happiest place in Delhi right now.” The second friend, “I just saw a poster saying- India’s come out of the closet. In India, and the hearts of people, everything has come out of the closet. It’s a happy moment”.


“It’s a lot of allies I see walking down the road with us, a lot of children, a lot of supporters for the LGBTQI+ community, so I see that change happening right now with the pride… I think the hopes for the future is to change the mindset. I am really optimistic about it.”


“It’s a blessing from the country to the minority community. Now that we have got the key to the door, we would like to start our journey. We appeal to the govt that they have approved our existence, now we are looking forward to getting our rights. My earnest request to the Modi govt is to grant same-sex marriage in the near future”.


“We have people from all spectrums, and classes in this pride united by just love. I love the vibe, I feel it is wholesome”.


 “I think each year the Pride keeps growing, and this year it’s the biggest one. I think it gets better for people now that 377 is gone. People are celebrating their own self. It sends across a very positive message”. 


“I feel happy and community members have started working towards inclusivity so have a lot of things to look forward to”.


“As an ally, I see a lot of love here, I see happy faces. This time there is more openness, more willingness, lots of families, friends coming out in support, celebrating love… I feel part of the community as I receive so much love from the people in the community. We will always be there”.


“People are more enthusiastic. I see allies putting on make-up and expressing solidarity. People are free”.


“I think there’s a need to connect closely to the political issues like sedition laws etc.. but I was not expecting the current govt to make the move they did during the hearing of Sec 377. But there are a lot of things to look forward to like same-sex marriage, housing rights and adoptions. We have a long way to go”.


“People are more confident, happy and proud of what they are. It is my first pride and I am just happy. We still need to walk a long way together.”


“It is a big deal for me because I cross-dressed for the first time. I felt included, safe. I had so many friends and support this time… I saw a French couple with their baby, and when I went up to ask them what made them bring their child, they said it was basic to familiarize kids with Pride… But, I also think that Delhi Pride needs to be organized in a better way. I was groped by an unknown man while walking the pride which spoils the whole point of pride being a safe place for our community”.

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