This year was the first time that the event was not held as a march, as the organisers were denied permission citing a High Court order on limiting protests to Freedom Park.

A person with a blue umbrella and a colourful outfit at Bengaluru’s Ride with PrideAnushree Bhatter
news LGBTQIA+ Monday, November 28, 2022 - 12:19

This year, Bengaluru celebrated 15 years since its first Pride march in 2008, with the ‘Ride with Pride’ event held on Sunday, November 27. However, this year’s event was slightly different than during the previous years, as the people were asked to gather at Freedom Park, and were later transported to Samsa Bayalu Ranga Mandira for an evening of cultural events. This was the first time that the event was not held as a march, as Bengaluru police denied permission to the organisers, the Coalition for Sexworkers and Sexual Minorities Rights (CSMR). The permission was denied citing a High Court order dated March 2022, which prohibits any processions, walks or protests to be carried out outside of Freedom Park. 

“It was disappointing when we came to know of the High Court judgement, however, this year we have decided to not stay silent, come what may. Everyone wants to silence the community, but the idea with Ride with Pride was that we would still find some legal loopholes to protest and raise awareness about the community. We will sloganeer here and then ride on buses to the next point,” said Priyank Sukanand, one of the organisers of Ride with Pride and a member of CSMR.

Pride celebrations last more than a month in Bengaluru, with various events organised every day that lead up to the main parade. This year, hundreds of members and allies of the LGBTQIA+ community gathered at Freedom Park at 2 pm on Sunday, from where they drove in buses to the second destination at Samsa Bayalu Ranga Mandira.

“This is my first pride and I am a little disappointed because the march could not be carried out. However, it feels amazing to be here with so many members of the community and know that you’re not alone. It’s quite reassuring to know that these many people feel the same way that I do,” said Sumonto, a 24-year-old working with an ed-tech company.

 

 

“My first Pride march was in 2008 and I feel a lot has changed since. I feel overwhelmed because there are so many more people out here. So many people of the community are now more comfortable in coming out of the closet and sharing their stories and their identities,” said another attendee, Vinitha.

With the event, the organisers listed out a set of demands for the LGBTQIA+ community. Their primary demand was the withdrawal of the High Court order denying permission to protests outside Freedom Park. Further, they demanded implementation of the 2018 Navjot Singh Johar Supreme Court judgement and initiating gender and sexuality sensitisation programs for all public services. The historic 2018 Supreme Court judgement held Section 377 to be unconstitutional and read it down. They also demanded, among others, that juvenile justice policy and juvenile detention homes be made gender inclusive and gender neutral.

Photo Credit: Anushree Bhatter

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