Colours everywhere… On people’s faces, on their clothes and in their hearts. The tenth edition of Chennai Vaanavil Suyamariyadhai Perani, a.k.a. the Chennai Rainbow Pride March this Sunday, that marked the culmination of the Pride Month celebrations, was filled with rainbows.
People of all genders and sexualities participated in the march, and some even brought their children along.
Several hundred people danced, marched and raised slogans on the streets of Chennai with banners and flags celebrating. Sunday also saw pride marches being held in Minneapolis, Seattle and New York City.
The march saw the participation of several members from the LGBTQI+ community from Chennai – while some people came in from other parts of the country as well.
One participant from Kolkata said that it was his 9th pride march this year.
Organised by the Tamil Nadu Rainbow Coalition (TNRC), the march began at Rajarathinam Stadium in Egmore and ended at Albert Theatre, via Langs Garden Road.
Loud proclamations of ‘My body, my right! We shall fight! We shall Fight!’, ‘Sex work is work!’ ‘Down down 377!’, ‘I am gay! that’s okay!’ ‘I am queer, that’s okay!’ were heard throughout the march.
Namitha, a student and a member of Orinam who has also been working with TNRC, shared that the turnout this time has been much better than the previous years. She went on to add that over the years the number of queer women participating in the march has grown consistently. “We’re also talking about a wide range of topics this year from sex work to marital rape to institutional discrimination,” she added.
Members with sparkle streaks on their faces and colours from the rainbow on their clothes, marched with pride and happiness, hugging and cheering one another.
Members of the TNRC put forward several demands as part of this year’s march, including implementation of the Supreme Court’s 2014 NALSA judgment in its entirety in all states, and the quashing of Section 377.
The members also opposed the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill that is currently in Lok Sabha, which goes against everything that the community has been asking for. They demanded a Bill that complies with the key points of the landmark NALSA judgment in SC, that supports self-identification, does not criminalise begging, and that has strong components of reservation and affirmative action.
Access to quality health care, reservation for transgender persons in educational institutions, LGBTIQA+ inclusive counselling services in educational institutions, support groups on campus, workplace equality are some of the other demands put forward by them.
(Pictures by Nishanth Krish, Anjana Shekar and Sreedevi Jayarajan)