Pride. Whenever this word is being heard, the first thing that would come to your mind is a feeling of deep satisfaction from one’s own achievements. Some people would think about the rainbows and the LGBTQ+ community. Pride month is a month where people can take pride in themselves and their own identity. Let’s see the history behind this month where love is being celebrated.
Firstly, if you are wondering what does LGBTQ+ means, you are in the right place! LGBTQ+ is expanded as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and the ‘+’ symbol represents the other sexualities and genders that aren’t included in the acronym. Various events are held around the world during this unique month to recognise the impact LGBT people have had on the world. June was picked for a reason as, in June 1969, The Stonewall Uprising took place.
June 28, 1969 marked the series of events between the police and the protesters of the LGBTQ+ community. These protests lasted for over 6 days and it is commonly called as The Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. The Stonewall Inn was owned by the Mafia, as was customary for gay clubs in America at the time. Officers swiftly lost control of the scene at the Stonewall Inn on June 28, 1969, despite the fact that police raids on gay bars were common in the 1960s. Tensions between New York City Police and LGBT Greenwich Village residents erupted into more protests the following evening and several nights thereafter.
Activist groups were formed by the residents of the village within weeks, demanding the ability to live openly about their sexual orientation without fear of being jailed or punished. The new activist groups emphasised confrontational tactics, and three periodicals dedicated to homosexual and lesbian rights were founded within months. The Stonewall Uprising was a turning moment in the United States’ Gay Liberation Movement. The last Sunday in June was originally designated as “Gay Pride Day” in the United States, although the exact date was not set.
This “day” soon developed to cover a month-long series of events in major cities around the country. Pride parades, picnics, parties, conferences, symposia, and concerts are now commonplace, and LGBTQ+ Pride Month events draw millions of people from all over the world. During this month, memorials are organised for community members who have died as a result of hate crimes or HIV/AIDS. The objective of the commemoration month is to honour the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to history on a local, national, and international level.
Where does India stand?
In India, during the British Raj, a provision was introduced in 1862, known as the Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. Section 377 served as something that was used to criminalise certain sexual practices, including the same sex relationships. On September 2018, it was ruled out by The Supreme Court Of India that Section 377 isn’t applicable to homosexuality. Even though being a part of LGBTQ+ community wasn’t a crime in this country, doesn’t mean that they are widely accepted. The legalising of homosexuality is India’s first step toward acceptance; yet, the country still has a long way to go before it achieves true and real acceptance of the LGBTQ+ population. For that to happen, people should start being better allies.
How to be a better ally?
Educate, unlearn and relearn. There are deep rooted ideologies against the LGBTQ+ community which have to be unearthed and destroyed in order to make this world a safe space for them. Don’t assume someone’s pronouns by the way they appear and don’t assume everyone to be straight. Always remember that there are more than two genders existing. Well, if you didn’t know about that earlier, its time to educate yourself! People of the LGBTQ+ community don’t look a certain way and don’t dress a certain way.
Joking about the stereotypes or the assumptions as mentioned earlier shouldn’t be practiced as you may never know who you are hurting by making that joke. It could be your friend, your sibling, your colleague, someone who is very close to you, etc. Try to have an open mind, unwire your brain from all the homophobic things you’ve learnt while being raised and rewire it to bring forth peace and unity amongst the humankind. If you have a doubt like, “I’m not a part of the LGBTQ+ community, so why should I support their rights?” Well, you support animal rights, right? You’re not an animal though.
Brighter future is waiting!
If you are a part of the community, always remember that there are beautiful people around you who are willing to accept you no matter what. Situations have started to change and people have started to educate themselves on topics like this. Even if they don’t know a lot about the community and can’t understand how things work, they will respect your feelings and make it a safe space for you. You necessarily don’t have to come out unless and until your environment is safe. Remember that you don’t owe anyone anything.
Take pride in who you are!
Pride is all about celebrating individuality and being comfortable in one’s own skin. It’s about respecting each other’s differences and supporting each other. It’s about standing up together in solidarity and striving for equality. At the same time, it’s also about holding on to hope, as a brighter future is waiting!