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Sanchita Mondal

You’ll never find a rainbow if you are looking down,” said Charlie Chaplin.

Here the rainbow symbolises the eight colored flags which proudly fly in the sky as a symbol for the LGBTQ rights movement during the month of June. One must have seen group of people waving rainbow flags, sporting colorful dresses, faces painted with the rainbow-hued pride flags marching through street to celebrate the gender diversity and promote equality.

Wait, did you know that June is celebrated as Pride month every year? If you didn’t then this is your time to learn. June is LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) Pride Month and these communities come together to celebrate the freedom to be themselves in a blast of colour, merriment, and joy. Well, Pride isn’t just a month, it’s a way of life!

Clip from Bhubaneswar Pride ParadeBhubaneswar Pride Parade

In the month of June, one can see the streets are painted with rainbow hues, people marching with painted faces and flags in their hands and mass gatherings of people whose hearts are filled with love and acceptance. Joyous events, posters with heart-warming slogans, and outfits that fill up the colours of the rainbow seem to grace our lives in the month of June. And all of that is to celebrate Pride Month. During the period of these 30 days, members of the LGBTQIA+ community throng the streets to reassert the standing of sexual inclusivity. 

Bhubaneswar Pride ParadeBhubaneswar LGBTQ Pride Parade

History of Pride: Where Was Pride Celebrated First in India? 

Today, Pride Month is widely celebrated across different nations but its roots trace back to New York. LGBTQ Pride Month of June is observed to pay homage to the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. 

Clip from Bhubaneswar Pride paradeve in pride

In India, the first-ever Pride event was celebrated in West Bengal capital Kolkata on 2nd July 1999. Although it had a total of 15 members back then, there was no woman present in the parade. The situation has a stark difference from what we see today as throngs of people invade the streets in West Bengal, Odisha and other neighbouring states to celebrate Pride Month. 

Pride march in Bhubaneswar 

The Odisha capital witnessed a wonderful Pride walk this year. Waving rainbow flags and sporting faces painted with the rainbow-hued pride flags, Hundreds of members of LGBTQIA+ community and their supporters from Odisha and outside walked and danced during the Rainbow pride walk in Bhubaneswar. Not only the community members, many parents, family members, friends came out and participated in the march highlight the increasing social acceptance for them.

“Overwhelmed with the kind of support we get to organise the parade. What make this pride a huge success is 'parents came down to support their children and sent a very strong message to the society that now is the time to start accepting us',” said Priyadarsini, a volunteer of the LGBTQ core committee of Bhubaneswar. 

LGBTQ Pride parade LGBTQ Pride parade

Well, here ‘Harry Potter’ star Daniel Radcliffe’s words come in mind that is “You don’t have to be gay to be a supporter—you just have to be a human.” 

While asking about the things which most of the people are unaware about LGBTQ lives, Amit aka VictWhoria Jumbobutt drag artist of Odisha said, “They are emotionally vulnerable from inside but they don't show it on the outside and they are very expressive about their desires unapologetically."

The drag artist also thanked OTV for the media coverage and said, “Media plays the vital role in spreading awareness.”

VictWhoria Jumbobutt, Drag artist of Odisha during Bhubaneswar Pride marchVictWhoria Jumbobutt, Drag artist of Odisha during Bhubaneswar Pride march

Scrapping 377: What had changed in the last few years? 

It will be almost 4 years since India’s highest court decriminalised homosexuality between consenting adults by scrapping the controversial Section 377. The judgment was widely welcomed by most sections of society, especially the youth who called it a victory of love. Ever since then, a few things have changed as people have been more accepting of sexual minorities. 

Bhubaneswar pride march

We are witness to the changes being made in the mainstream media with films like 'Badhaai Do' and 'Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga', which are nothing less than cornerstones that predict the plight of Gay and Lesbian people in the country. From athletes to actors and members of the other prominent sectors in India, people are able to come out and take their sexuality with pride.  

Stand up, speak out, rise up! Accept people for who they are!

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