CHENNAI: A fully bearded man in a nine-yard Kancheevaram silk sari marched in with the black and white photo of a woman in his hand. The orange bindi on his forehead blazed in the same colour as the 30-year-old sari that his mother once wore. “When I was around 10, my mother told me I was gay. She died when I was 12. In her honour I decided to wear her sari in the pride march,” said Ram Rao, a trans activist based out of Tamil Nadu, speaking to Express at the ninth annual pride march in Chennai that happened on Sunday.
People with a spectrum of sexuality and people of the spectrum of genders marched in colourful clothing raising slogans and holding rainbow flags or umbrellas. It was a carnival with flags, balloons, afro-wigs, capes and masks; a new addition cropped up. Red umbrellas popped open amidst rainbow ones as transgender sex workers joined the pride march for the first time.
Pride march is a global movement to spread awareness about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgenders, queer, intersex and asexual community (LGBTQIA). The community of people, who are marginalised by the mainstream society, gathered to take pride in their identity.
“I’m fruit loops in a box of Cheerios,” “If Harry Potter was right, no one should stay inside a closet,” “Quit the binary, live the spectrum,” were some of the words floating on posters and cardboard plaques lifted by the crowd.
Meanwhile, the colourfully clad procession screamed, “I’m gay, that’s OK. I’m lesbian, that’s OK. I’m transgender, that’s OK. I’m asexual, that’s OK.”
hildren from a slum who had no idea about the meaning of the procession bounced among the crowd celebrating the explosion of music and colours. Like mice running after the Pied Piper, the kids blended with the crowd and convinced the adults to hand them over some of the balloons.
While some onlookers thought that the parade was a fund raiser to help fisher folks, others mistook it for a struggle for fundamental rights. However, for most, the transgenders were the face of the movement and the concept of spectrum of sexuality was beyond understanding.