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Chandigarh celebrates diversity through power packed Pride March

Chandigarh: The LGBTQIA+ community of the tricity and their allies marched together celebrating diversity and pride in their identities under the banner of ‘Garvotsav 2024’, here today. A mix of culture and identity assertion unfolded through dance performances, and powerful sloganeering while participants took to the streets carrying rainbow flags and posters demanding equal rights for all gender and sexual minorities.

The Pride march of around 500 people that started from the Student Centre, Panjab University, walked through inner roads of Sector 15 and Sector 16 to end at Sector 17 Plaza reclaiming the same public spaces that deny them authentic visibility The day started with a mesmerising Naati Himachali folk dance performance, a powerful gidda presentation by transgender persons and other western and classical dances.

“More than a celebration, Pride is a protest and also a tribute to millions of LGBTQIA+ individuals who came before us. They fought for equality and suffered at the hands of an unjust society and legal system. We are carrying forward that legacy and seek to make the Chandigarh tricity an inclusive and safe space for everyone,” said Simran, the founder of Queering in Chandigarh, a co-organiser of the event.

The Garvotsav 2024 was a 10 day-long celebration starting March 1 and included events like panel discussions on gender affirming healthcare, zine making workshop, film screening, discussion on prevention of HIV/AIDS and other STIs, potluck picnic, and a queer mela. 

MX Dhananjay, a Trans Activist and Founder of Saksham Prakriti Welfare Society Chandigarh stated, “This Pride celebration should be a platform for transgender visibility for the next 10-15 years. Trans people have always been at the forefront of the LGBTQIA+ movement, and this Pride, we'll see that again – with Gidda performances prominently featuring trans people. Identity comes first, and we're grateful to Panjab University for their inclusivity. Special thanks to Chandigarh Administration and Panjab University Administration.”

A Celebration of Community and History:

Yana (she/her), a student of BA Eng Hons at Goswami Ganesh Dutta S.D. College stated “Last year, Pride was a turning point for me. Attending those events surrounded by like-minded people provided crucial support as I explored my identity on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. That experience was transformative. This year, I returned to Pride with a newfound sense of pride and a clear understanding of who I am. Events like these aren't just celebrations; they offer a safe space for self-discovery, especially for those questioning their identity in a society that often remains silent on these issues. For many, Pride provides a much-needed guidepost on a journey of self-acceptance.”

Vridhi Jain (they/them), a member of Core team of Garvotsav 2024 stated “Pride isn’t just a celebration, it’s a medium of visibility to show the society , the government that we exist. I attended my first pride in 2022 and the very next year I joined the planning team, and as well this year, playing my part, as much as I can. Pride exists to demand our rights, recognition and to be treated with respect.”

Keshav (he/him) and Vivek (they/them) have been in a relationship for the past 3 years. Keshav, 22 stated “While Chandigarh might not be overtly discriminatory, there's a subtle undercurrent of prejudice. It can feel moderately restrictive for LGBTQIA+ individuals. Seeing people proudly express themselves at Pride is truly inspiring.  

Vivek (23) stated “I never felt the need for a formal coming-out process. I've always had a sense of who I am. Pride is a vibrant display of people from all walks of life, celebrating their true colours with confidence. It's a beautiful sight.”

Other collaborators for the Pride Week included Humsafar Trust, The Lalit, Aashray, Chandigarh Administration, Keshav Suri Foundation, Copan, and Khanak.



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