Mois de la fierté

 Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Transgender. Yes, you read that  correct , LGBT. It is sometimes also called LGBTQIA which also includes queer, intersex and asexual groups. For your information, Queer is an umbrella term which is used in reference to non-straight people; intersex refers to those whose sex is not clearly defined because of genetic, hormonal or biological differences; and asexual describes those who don’t experience sexual attraction. The reason for not giving an English title is that in the village of Greenwich which is a neighbourhood on the west side of Manhattan in New York City, the least spoken language is French.

How did it start?

It was the 28th of June in 1969 in Stonewall Inn, a gay club in Greenwich Village,  New York when the police raided and began hauling customers outside. The growing crowd of bystanders threw bottles and coins at the officers because the Gay community in New York was fed up of harassment which eventually resulted in riots. Leading the movement was a black, trans, bisexual woman, Marsha P. Johnson, to establish the message that there should be places where LGBT+ people could go and be open about their sexual orientation without fear of arrest.

Why pride month?

Bisexual activist Brenda Howard, also known as The Mother of Pride,’ organized Gay Pride Week and the Christopher Street Liberation Day Parade a year after the Stonewall Riots. This is also known as New York City Pride March. The month of June is celebrated as ‘Pride month’ where the LGBTQ+ community celebrates being oneself and loving whosoever you want. Bill Clinton was the first U.S. President to officially recognize Pride Month in 1999 and 2000. Then, from 2009 to 2016, Barack Obama declared June LGBT Pride Month[1]. He also declared the Stonewall Inn as a national monument.

The Flag

Have you seen rainbow flags, rainbow-coloured logos and icons on various TV channels, mobile applications and social media accounts, particularly during the month of June?  Speaking of the rainbow flag, it was actually the idea of gay politician Harvey Milk to design an all-encompassing symbol to take to San Francisco’s Pride March. The different colours in the LGBTQ+ flag  denote different meaning. The colour red stands for life, orange for healing, yellow for sunlight, green for nature, indigo for harmony and violet for spirit. In addition, two more colours like black & brown have been added to indicate diversity and inclusivity.

LGBTQ in India

Section 377 of IPC which related to consensual homosexual sex between adults was a criminal offence until the Apex court  allowed the  LGBT community to live life as per their choice. It acted as a major recognition to the community but the psychological beliefs of the people in the society was a major concern. In India, even after 2-3 years of passing of judgement, the psychology of the people haven’t changed towards Homosexuals. The result being at present is that people are divided to accept the LGBT community and treat them in a normal way. The community in India is still struggling to avail marriage, house and health. It is very difficult for people in India to accept change, be it the Mughal rule or the British rule and now the LGBT.

The LGBT community in India is ‘ridiculed’ and ‘made fun of’ in cinemas. We’ve literally grown out of seeing Suresh Menon play gay characters, only to be mocked upon on silver screens. Be it Kal Ho Na hoHoneymoon Travels Pvt Ltd or Dostana.  But, there are few movies that had the neatest ways to make us feel normal about the society. Deepa Mehta’s Fire explores the issues of homosexuality in a patriarchal conservative family. The movie was about two women falling in love with each other after witnessing neglect from their spouses. Manoj Bajpai’s movie Aligarh was critically acclaimed for exploring the emotional and social aspects of homosexuality beyond commonplace jokes. In the movie, the character of Manoj Bajpai who is the head of the Classical Modern Indian Languages in Aligarh Muslim University was suspended on moral grounds because he was a homosexual. The film enhanced the message that homosexuality is equally condemned, if not more, in academic circles. The list is incomplete without mentioning Riturparno Ghosh’s contributions in dealing with the taboos. A brilliant film focusing on the gender identity of a choreographer, Chitrangada exposes the hypocrisy that comes into play with transgenders. Likewise, Aarekti Premer Galpo is a journey of a transgender documentary filmmaker who’s confronting the tribulations of a transgender in our country[2]. On the comedy part, we have movies such as Ayushmann Khurrana’s film Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan which deals with  the thinking of India’s society. Another mainstream Bollywood LGBT movie that  represented the LGBT community was actor Sonam Kapoor’s movie Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga which came after the verdict of section 377 IPC. The movie deals with how a typical Indian family reacts after getting to know that one of their family members is a part of LGBTQ. 

The road ahead

Ever since the historic decision came out in favour of LGBTQ, some of the famous Indian celebrities had come forward to express their happiness. Director and producer Karan Johar  is the first name which comes to the mind of every Indian whenever they hear the word ‘LGBTQ’. He heavily hinted about his sexual orientation in his autobiography An Unsuitable Boy in 2017. Award-winning filmmaker, editor and writer Apurva Asrani, who is known working on successful films like Satya (1998), Shahid (2013) and CityLights (2014), is one of few openly gay men in Indian cinema. Following the repeal of Section 377, Asrani felt “vindicated” by the Supreme Court’s decision. According to him, the law had changed but the society was still brainwashed by centuries of outdated Victorian values. According to lesbian stand-up comedian Vasu Primlani there is still a social stigma against LGBT+ people in the country.

Conclusion

 Although huge strides have been made for equality over recent years, we all still have a long way to go[3]As part of the Pride Month, run, walk, skip, or dance in a pride parade. A person need not be LGBTQ+ to attend a pride march. To show the support, one can wear the colours on a T-shirt, a hairband, or on the laces in the shoes. It also gives a chance to meet new like-minded people, knowing that this is a celebration of acceptance and love.


[1] National Today-Pride month June 2021, PRIDE MONTH 2021 – June | National Today , visited on 07-06-2021 at 16:36hrs.

[2] 6 Movies That Empowered LGBT Community in India | by Prodios | Prodioscom | Medium, visited on 07-06-2021 at 18:01hrs.

[3] National Today-Pride month June 2021, PRIDE MONTH 2021 – June | National Today , visited on 07-06-2021 at 19:28hrs.

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