Slogans of “Tharo Maro Prem Che! Same Che! Same Che" (Your Love and My Love Are The Same) reverbrated at the fifth Awadh Queer Pride at at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Park in Lucknow on Sunday Febeuary 28, 2021.
The COVID-19 restrictions this year had necessitated some changes to the usual Pride walk route that used to start at Dainik Jagran Chauraha and end at the GPO office in Hazratganj. Instead, the LGBTQIA+ community and allies gathered, wearing face masks, at Lohia Park amphitheatre, which was decked in rainbow flags and banners. There was dancing, singing, recitation of poems and even a proposal as the community celebrated Pride.
The Pride meet was happening just days after the government filed an affidavit in the Delhi high court opposing same-sex marriages and dashing the hopes of the country's LGBTQIA+ community. But the mood among Pride participants was far from despondent.
"Hum bilkul bhi hathash nahi hai, ye jung aage bhi jari rahe ga" (We are not hopeless at all, the struggle for equality shall continue)," said Lovepreet, one of the organisers of the Pride.
Megha, another organiser, said that it was all the more reason to stand up for every marginalised community as she held a banner that said "Intersectionality or nothing!"
Riddhi Trivedi, an elderly mother of two children, who was passing by stopped to see what the celebration was all about. We asked her about her opinion about the LGBTQIA+ community asking for its rights.
“They are not harming any section of society and expressing themselves freely. People should not treat them any different," she told us. When we told her about the government's affidavit in the Delhi high court that said that under Indian laws marriage was only between a biological man and a biological woman, she appeared shocked.
“Cultures evolve with time. When two consenting adults want to live together and get married to each other they should have that right as much as any other (heterosexual) couple," she said.
The Pride gathering concluded with the waving of rainbow flags, as participants danced and celebrated to the beats of dhols.
"We shall overcome", the community sang in unison.