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Chandigarh had its 11th Pride March of Queer Strength

PUNJAB NEWS EXPRESS | February 13, 2023 09:01 AM

CHANDIGARH: Sunday afternoon in Chandigarh was all about the seven colours of the rainbow. As the Chandigarh Pride Walk ‘Garvotsav 2023’ started off from the Student Centre, Panjab University, to reach Sector 17 Plaza, scores of LGBTQIA+ community members clad in colourful attire joined the march, waving the pride and trans flags and seeking ‘Azaadi’, freedom for all gender and sexual minorities.

“Pride promotes self-affirmation, dignity, equality, and increased visibility of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and non-binary (LGBTQIA+) people as a social group. We take proud in our gender and sexual identities and reject the shame and social stigma. Pride is also a protest against the discrimination we have to face in our daily lives, ” said Dhananjay Chauhan, president of Saksham Prakriti Welfare Society, a non-profit organisation working towards welfare of transgender community.

Several participants came dressed up in vibrant, rave and club costumes and accessories. Just before the walk, they were seen putting face paints, clicking selfies and doing Giddha to the beats of a dhol. “Chandigarh region has a very vibrant queer community and the city saw our strength today. We are no longer an invisible minority. The whole stretch from Panjab University to Sector 17 was a riot of colour, songs and slogans. It was so empowering, ” said Simran, founder of Queering in Chandigarh, a co-organiser of the event.

Giant Rainbow Pride flag and Transgender flag were carried during the march representing a safe space and collective shelter under which participants danced. Yashika and Sanjana, two transgender students of Panjab University, carried placards with ‘Dalit Trans Lives Matter’ and questioning the Union government about transgender reservation rights.

The Garvotsav 2023 was a week-long celebration starting February 6 and included events like panel discussions on legal and health rights of the community, cultural performances, film screenings, open mic and a queer bazaar. “The Pride week helped make the community more visible and also motivate allies to join us at the final parade, ” said Nanki, founder of Queer Lifafa, Chandigarh Queer Collective.

Other partners of Garvotsav 2023 included Humsafar Trust, Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, Copan CSPL, The Lalit, Keshav Suri Foundation, InterPride and Ashray Foundation.

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