Kerala Pride marches on to malappuram

We wanted to spread the message of love to all corners. In 2022, we held it in Kollam. This year, it is Malappuram,” says Abin R, the convenor of this year’s Pride.
Members of LGBTQ+ community preparing for this year’s event
Members of LGBTQ+ community preparing for this year’s event

KOCHI: Spreading the message of humanity, love and freedom, Kerala Pride 2023 kicks off in Malappuram today. The two-day event includes a Pride parade, an exhibition of queer arts and artists, discussions, talks and a DJ event on the concluding night.

Volunteers from across the state have been working hard to ensure that this year’s event is a success, especially in view of the recent Supreme Court judgment that, they say, has undermined the progress made thus far.

“The decision to hold Pride in places this far removed from your usual metropolises is a conscious one. We wanted to spread the message of love to all corners. In 2022, we held it in Kollam. This year, it is Malappuram,” says Abin R, the convenor of this year’s Pride.

“Malappuram holds a special place in our community. This year, two couples approached the High Court for their rights from Malappuram. Adhila and Noora, and Sumayya and Afeefa. We wanted to reach out to everyone. Not just in cities like Kochi but everywhere. There are queer people in other districts too. Spreading the message also means being there physically,” says Neharika Pradosh, the former governor of Kerala Pride and a young queer activist.

A glimpse from Kerala Pride 2022
A glimpse from Kerala Pride 2022

However, not everything is rosy. “The situation is tense. Ever since we announced this year’s location, we have been getting death threats. A community called ‘Yes Kerala’ has been stalking members of our queer family – online and offline. They even reached a college where some of our members are studying. However, we cannot cower. We will spread the message that we are equal and deserving of every human right,” Abin asserts.

The threats and reports have been ceaseless online. It has seen Abin’s social media profiles withheld. Many of the volunteers’ handles have been locked. “There are a lot of misogynistic and homophobic people, and even organisations, working to restrict our presence. The disheartening judgement by the apex court has also become another weapon in the hands of those who see us differently,” they say.

“Though progressive-sounding observations were part of the judgement, the verdict has made the situation worse. Now, these organisations assert that we don’t deserve any rights,” Abin adds.In view of rising tensions, the organisers had met with the police to ensure the safety of members during this year’s Pride. “There would be increased security. The state is with us,” they add.

A long march
Kerala Pride has over a decade-long history in the state. The first Pride event was held in Thrissur in 2010. “It was a small event then, put together with the help of queer people, sex workers, and a handful of socio-culture figures from our society. Pride has grown over the years. Now, more and more people come out and join,” recalls queer activist Faisal Faisu C, who was part of the 2010 event.

The first Pride was about asserting their existence, celebrating their hard-earned rights after the historic 2009 Supreme Court judgement that decriminalised consensual sex, including homosexual sex among adults, Faisal remembers. “Many of us have been part of Pride since 2010. Pride is not just a celebration. It gives hope to those who are still hiding themselves. It is about spreading awareness about gender and sexuality. It is also about fighting for our rights,” Faisal adds.


  • As part of the event, the queer community will submit a memorandum to the government.
    It is a list of suggestions -- of measures to be taken to end the discrimination they face in Kerala. These include:
  • Introduce queer-affirmative policies in educational institutions
  • Make sex education mandatory
  • Train mental health professionals in queer affirmative therapy
  • Ensure that SRS surgery, top surgery, etc., are done according to world standards
  • Take action immediately if complaints are received regarding conversion therapy
  • Implement the Mental Health Act 2017
  • Implement horizontal reservation in the employment sector
  • Implement reservations for transgender persons in legislatures, panchayats
  • Enact legislation that also addresses sexual diversity
  • Improve the conditions of the Transgender Justice Board
  • Exercise reservation in quasi-judicial commissions
  • Implement housing projects that take into account the unique circumstances of the queer community
  • Provide necessary financial / training support for self-employment entrepreneurship

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The New Indian Express