The first India-Pak Pride Meet took place virtually on Sunday. A group of young peacebuilders from India and Pakistan came together to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community.
The meet named ‘Rainbow over Wagah’ saw participants of several members from the LGBTQIA+ community. The participants shared their experiences and shared their hearts out in the form of dance, music, and poetry.
Devika Mittal one of the organizers from India-Pak Collective, while speaking to Indian Express. She emphasized June is celebrated as a Pride month globally. So the initiative is to create a platform for the LGBTQIA+ community members.
Mittal emphasized that the fluidity of gender and this rainbow of sexuality has been part of our rich culture and heritage. The queerness has found acceptance and inclusion and is among the many diversities of our region. However, we often discriminate against queer people in India and Pakistan.
Importantly, the queer community in both countries continues to be oppressed under law. Also, it makes it difficult for them to live equal, safe, and dignified lives. Moreover, in society, they face discrimination in education, livelihood, and residence to name a few.
Mittal also added that the virtual event was an attempt to remind both nations and their people to reject the orthodox mentality. Above all, we should embrace a culture that celebrates diversity and promotes humanity.
In the virtual event, LGBTQIA+ community members from both nations participated. For a panel discussion, the people present were Deepak Kashyap (Indo-Canadian Counsellor, LGBTQIA+ activist), Muhammad Moiz ( a comedian from Pakistan), Dr. Sakshi Mamgain (an Indian doctor and an LGBTQIA+ health activist), and Aradhiya Khan( Pakistan trans right activist).
The list of performers was Toshi Shankar (a poetess from India), Dipanjali Chhetri (semi-classical dancer from India), Faeez Ahmed (poet from Pakistan), Ketan Singh (classical dancer from Chattisgarh), and Shubhangi (an Indian Singer) to name a few.
Frequently, over Indo-Pak peace talks, we discuss political agenda and military affairs. We seldom think of the marginalized communities of both countries. As the LGBTQIA+ community is to date under-represented. Also, we lack platforms to discuss, come together, and learn.
After this event, queer folks in India and Pakistan realize that they are not alone.