Alternate History of Pride

by Vanisha Pandia

June 25, 2021

We as a civilization rely on documentation for allotting significance to our present, and with much reverence we call our documented past, our history.  We use it for rationing what surpasses its value and see the test of time by overcoming it. 

Hence, time being the most powerful entity, the omnipresent is what we document. What about the things we leave out? 

We as a species are too political in nature to leave matters to chance, especially things that we can control. It is not a matter of chance thereby which is calculatedly left from being called ‘history’, some year ahead.

In this state of things, how does the history being recorded on the pride and the LGBTQIA+ fares. Any kind of non-conformity is frowned upon in our civilization, and LGBTQIA+ rights nay their lives have been on the top of the list. In such a case, how is it being recorded, who is writing the history of the present and how is it overcoming the ever-present bias?

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It is a duty of each to come along the uprising and conduct oneself in allyship. This become even more emphasized for persons identifying themselves as queer. It not only remains the matter of pride but coming out of their victimhood. Yet, there lies obstacles and each day fairs differently for each individual.

Pride sees itself at the cross-section of intersectionality in India, one’s caste, class and privilege play a major role in the onus you’ve in bringing change. Your other identity factors define the effect and repercussion of your participation in the movement. Your cross-sectional identity plays a major role when it comes to all actions taken in support of the pride. The media coverage, the rebellion, thus gets affected and modulated based on the person involved in covering the activities and being covered while participating in the activities.

The Indian pride movement has a long and illustrious history, far longer than is believed around the world. The belief that stands corrected though is that, that history is the penning of the privilege and about the privilege.

The first known instance of gay rights action in India occurred on August 11th, 1992, when the AIDS Bhedbhav Virodhi Andolan (ABVA), an organization that combats prejudice against HIV/AIDS, patients,protested the mistreatment of homosexual men by blocking the entrance to the Delhi police headquarters. ABVA also filed a public interest lawsuit in the Delhi High Court, contesting the constitutionality of Section 377, and was the first to do so, setting in motion a chain of events that culminated in Section 377’s decriminalization.

“2019 was not only the anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which took place 50 years ago, but it was also the 20th anniversary of the first ever pride parade held in India…” (One Future Collective)

We rarely come across stories of a happy ending when a queer identity is mixed with a Dalit one, we can rarely pat our backs as a country after hearing a story of a queer person belonging to a rural region, and sometime, we can rarely hear a story at all. The issue goes beyond the ability of the act of rebellion being covered and documented, but comes down to contextuality and credentials of the act.

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It is no surprise that the path that Pride movement has taken follows the feminist movement quite closely. The difference is only the one made by the modes available today. Social media platforms, independent journalism, the culture of personal documentation and whatnot.

The university Gazettes giving platform should be venerated, the literature conference embracing and asserting the idea of queer, the scholars of history defining the reasons of intolerance and overcoming them should be deemed worthy.

All modes that visualize the invisible, who give the authority of speech to the subaltern, each individual striving to acknowledge, embrace and accept their own identity should be adorned in what is called, the alternate history.

About the Author

Vanisha Pandia

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