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'For Love & Equality': Delhi's 1st Queer Pride Parade Post Pandemic

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

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"My boyfriend is in the Delhi Police. He is not out yet. But he's posted here today and I want him to see how many people are here to support people like us," said Shanaya, at Delhi's Barakhamba road. After a gap of three years, the much-awaited Delhi Queer Pride Parade kicked off at 2 pm on Sunday at Barakhamba Road.

The parade first took place in 2008, when a few hundred people gathered. Over the years, it metamorphosed into a massive celebration for queer people in the city. The annual parade came to a halt due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. This is the first parade since then.

Anu (27), who identifies as bisexual, said, "Pride in Delhi is always something to look forward to. Being part of the community is a lot of fun, especially when it is happening after three years. I am glad to be part of this atmosphere after so long."

A first for some, a transformative journey for others, The Quint spoke to those at the pride parade about what it means to them.

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

"My boyfriend is in the Delhi Police. He is not out yet. But he’s posted here today and I want him to see how many people are here to support people like us," said Shanaya.

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

"She's my only queer friend, and she's the only one I can come to such events with," said Teddy (left), who identifies as non-binary. Her friend Tazel (right) recently came out as asexual. This is her first pride parade. 

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

Janvi (she/they), 20, and her girlfriend, 20 (she/they) said they have been coming to pride parades separately, but this is their first pride together. They met on Bumble.

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

"It's my first time at the pride parade. I'm really trying to come to terms with my sexuality. I feel awkward right now. This (getting clicked for media) is a huge step for me,” said Opal, from Kota, Rajasthan.

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

"I found out about pride parade years ago from the NGO I work with. I was apprehensive the first time, but felt good that there was a space for us too. It's great to be back after three years," said Navika (right), who came with her friend Ritu (left). 

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

"It's a colourful shirt, what could be better suited for pride?" said Mandar (25), a fashion designing  student who identifies as a gay man.

Mandar said he chose this shirt covered in queer artist Keith Haring's motifs, because the artist's life and work inspire him.

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

Pride is inclusive in every sense! "I am disabled. Both my legs are paralysed. But I'm here today to show my pride, and be a part of this celebration of my identity."

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

"Feels euphoric," says Nil, a regular attendee, about being here at the pride parade after three years. 

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

"My outfit is inspired by a character in the game, Genshin Impact, Venti. I have given a twist to the gender of the character," said Storm. They said started rethinking their gender identity in college, and were able to fully come to terms with their queerness when they found other queer friends who helped them through the journey. 

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

Not all allies were human. Some people brought their furry friends along to the pride parade.

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

"My journey has been very smooth, I came out to my family eight years ago. My family is very supportive, this is my second time at the pride," said Himanshi, 25, from Lucknow.

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

This was Keshvi's (she/her) first pride parade. Her sign reads, 'If being gay was a choice, I'd be gayer.'

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

"Unicorn is my favourite pride symbol. We are gay men. All our lives we have been pretending. It's a difficult life. It gets very lonely when we out with our straight friends," says Utsav, who came with his friend Prashant.

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

"It is my first time to the Pride, really trying to come in terms with my sexuality," said Opal.

The parade was on till 5 pm on Sunday. 

(Verda Subzwari and Anoushka Rajesh/The Quint)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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