STRIDE with PRIDE
By Khushi Koul
June, the pride month which celebrates love without questioning who have you fallen in love with, is a period of revelry which salutes the struggles, acknowledges the endurance and safeguards the interests of the LGBTQ+ community. It is that vibrant time of the year which reiterates the fluidity encompassed by gender identities. The streets are filled with vigour and tints and each hue of the carefully curated flag has a significance. Red stands for life, orange represents healing, yellow illustrates sunlight, green is a symbol for nature whereas blue and purple denote harmony and spirit respectively. 2020 has been an onerous year for all, but the queer community have already had their share of hardships which has woven an insulating cocoon around them. As a result of which pride parades have changed their platform not their purpose, creating a stir and garnering startling international attention. It’s wonderful to see the deep-seated spirit of the community and its allies to not cede with the obstacles in the course during the global pandemic.
History of Pride
The trails of the current momentous movement can be traced back to 1969. Homosexuality was considered a mental illness back then and homosexuals were treated diabolically. It was illegal and people, if caught, were subject to police brutality. Restaurants and bars serving gay frequenters or employing gay people were shut. A bar named Stonewall Inn in New York was a retreat for the LGBTQ+ coterie. On the balmy summer night of 28th June, the aforementioned bar was raided by police. But unlike the bygone period, this time the visitors fought back leading to an uprising. Days of riots thereafter and the first pride parade set forth a euphoria of activism and fuelled the gay rights.
‘Brenda Howard’, the Mother of Pride, is the most illustrious name in the struggle for her contribution in organising rallies, engendering awareness and coordinating the first parade to commemorate one year anniversary of the Stonewall riots.
Status of Nations
The Supreme Court of India made a landmark decision in 2018 by striking down the 19th-century law which illegalized homosexuality. This settlement was key in granting the LGBTQ+ folks the same sexual rights as any other citizen. It was acknowledged by the bench of judges that Section 377 did not only have a detrimental impact on the queer community but was also inarguably unconstitutional. Albeit, we still have a long way to go to eradicate the taboo and break the thick glass ceiling. There are about 70 countries that deem the sexual acts “against the order of nature” as prohibitive. Recently, Hungary ended legal recognition of trans people which is a move throwing us generations back into the dark ages. Its not only discrimination spewing but also escalates intolerance in an already resistant environment. We all need to comprehend that human rights entail trans rights too and henceforth annul all and any law coming in the way.
Harbingers of change
Talking of the positive deviants, cinema and fashion are the two domains that are challenging the stereotypical binary sexual identities and are making an attempt so that all of us open the windows of thought and be more accepting.
Fashion and style have been a form of expression since time immemorial. However, it has been a bottleneck in the path of progress for the LGBGTQ+ community. Some emerging gender-neutral clothing brands namely 69, Eckhaus Latta and Telfar have been successful in retaliating with the gender-conforming ways of dressing. The importance of comfortable clothes and the ones that help you define your persona cannot be denied. Films have a huge influence on the audience. Latest movies like ‘Shubh Mangal Zyaada Savdhaan’ and ‘Giant Little Ones’ propagate and normalise what’s normal even if it is different from the mainstream.
Who is an Ally?
According to the Merriam Webster, an ally is “one who is associates with another as a helper: a person or group that provides assistance and support in an ongoing effort, activity, or struggle” Allyship helps intensify the voices of the community. One can become a homophile or just an associate by being sensitive, responsibly educating oneself and then engaging in dialogue. Shunning heteronormativity at an individual level is the need of the hour.
Gender Neutral Vocabulary
I have realised the existence of gender-specific pronouns and the need to address them in today’s world where people are slowly awakening to and assimilating the fact that there are things beyond the archaic engraved norms. I vehemently believe that just as we restrict kids’ imagination by making them memorize A for Apple and C for Cat, our lingo too restricts us to look beyond binary gender identities. People do not take birth with tailor-made attitudes and perceptions and if language drives us in a direction, it should not be a biased one. We should be able to reconstruct and redesign our language with changing contexts. Not only gender-specific pronouns like he and she but also other vocables like girlfriend and boyfriend should be replaced by terms like partner so that they are not exclusionary in nature. Words like mankind, freshman, man-made, chairman and many more terms, reflect that we have accepted the masculine by default. All of this is suggestive of the necessity to build a gender-neutral lexicon to bring about inclusivity and gender equity. This will also mitigate the struggles of children who are still discovering their sexual orientations. The United Nations is trying to mend the deep-rooted gendered words. ‘What you say matters’, the UN wrote in a tweet. The organisation is urging folks to substitute words like ‘maiden name’ for ‘family name’ and ‘businessman’ for ‘representative’. Contemplation in this regard will go a long way in creating a more embracing atmosphere for all human beings.
What Happened at the Stonewall Riots? A Timeline of the 1969 Uprising.
10 Gay Pride History Facts Everyone Should Hear About
Celebrating Pride In India – Decriminalization Of Section 377
Tell Hungary That Trans Rights Are Human Rights
Allyship 101: How to amplify the voices in the LGBTQ+ community
Photo by Jordan McDonald on Unsplash