For the first time since the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality, Bengaluru’s queer community came out to celebrate.

In pictures Dance colours and celebration bring alive Bengalurus 11th Namma Pride
news Pride Monday, December 10, 2018 - 11:02

“If you’re queer and you know it, clap your hands!” a voice rang loud and clear to hoots and applause from the crowd. In the heart of Bengaluru, the sound of drumroll cut through the traffic on Sunday.

Hundreds of people had gathered outside one of the entrances of the Nadaprabhu Kempegowda Station at Majestic. It was the 11th pride march in Bengaluru, but this time, it was different. For the first time since the Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality, Bengaluru’s queer community came out to celebrate.

"It's great to be part of Namma Pride again. This is my seventh pride and it's only growing bigger and bigger. Especially after the verdict on Section 377, this is the first march so it is a moment of celebration, long due. Happy pride!" said Manav, as he held up a placard that read 'proud of my femininity.' 

“It is such a great atmosphere here and I am just so happy today. Look at all the colours. Look at everyone here!” said *Maya.

And indeed, a look around and one cannot help but smile. The energy was infectious. Smiles, beaming faces, colours, celebration, dance, music and happy sloganeering formed most part of the pride march organised by the Campaign for Sexuality Minorities Rights (CSMR), a coalition of several LGBTQ groups and individuals based in Bengaluru. The march began at Tulsi Park at around 2 pm and ended at the Puttanna Chetty Townhall around 5 pm.

People across genders and identities assembled for the march – some brought their children and some even got their pets along.

From the word go, people broke out in song and dance. Many marchers held up posters encouraging love, freedom and the right to equality – some asserting it was time to embrace all kinds of love and some insisting that there was more to be done.

‘One, two, three four, open up your closet door! Five, six, seven eight, don’t assume your kids are straight!” sang a group of participants. Slogans of “I am gay, it’s okay!” “We’re queer, don’t fear!” “My body, my right” rang the air occasionally. The sounds of the drums were a constant accompaniment to the march – the band enjoying as much as the community – and everyone danced like nobody was watching.

“Thousands of people like us, who are gay, bisexual, transgender, who love the same sex, we all are here, we are all celebrating Namma Pride. It’s the 11th year of pride but the first year after the freedom. We were criminals before and we are no longer criminals. We have the same feelings. We love how you love your husband. We love how you love your wife. We have the same feelings. Just accept us,” shared Syed, holding on to a large pride flag.

The march concluded with a grand celebration at Bengaluru Townhall, where everyone raised their glasses to the Supreme Court for its verdict and acknowledged the need to move forward to make sure that the judgement is popularised widely.

“We are very happy that years of struggle, we have a right to love,” said a participant. “Now, the idea is how each of us can take this struggle forward in an everyday sense. We have to find out how to change attitudes and prejudice in our everyday life – at schools and workplaces.”

(*Name changed)

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