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Queer rights are human rights says students at ‘pride march’ in delhi university

“Queer will not live in fear”, slogans heard at the Delhi University on 1st June, which marked the advent of the ‘Pride Month’. There were songs, and there was assertion at the ‘Pride Parade’ at Arts Faculty in Delhi University, organised by the Students Federation of India (SFI) on Wednesday. On Wednesday, participants in the ‘pride march’ said queer communities in India were facing a double assault as the “politics of masculinity” had tightened its grip over the country in previous few years, coupled with predatory market forces “commoditising their feelings.” Students from all genders had joined hands to assert that it was their freedom to choose their partners and societies and governments cannot intervene in the private lives of citizens.

Recently, the university has come into question for replacing the Ordinance XV(D) against sexual harassment, which provided protection to all persons, with the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013, which applies only to women. This leaves men and the rest of the community exposed. As the University sets out to formulate its admission policy for accepting transgender students in undergraduate courses as well, activists are worried that the policy won’t be enough without proper infrastructure and sensitisation programmes for students as well as faculty.

The professors of colleges and various others tried to put a halt at  the march, but the students decided to just ignore them and carry on with their protest. Students of Ramjas, Hansraj , Kirori Mal an IIT Delhi were mostly seen in the protest. They tried to put forward their view with the help of plays, social awareness campaign. Jawaharlal Nehru University also participated in the parade. JNU Students’ Union President Aishe Ghosh said that love cannot be determined by the choices given by our societies. It should be personal.

“We believe that love cannot be tied into prepositions. Societies are evolving and people from sexually marginalized communities are expressing their choices with confidence. It is possible that a man may love another man or a woman may love another woman. It has to be accepted by the society. The understanding of love is often biased. Matrimonial advertisements in national newspapers force you to think in a particular social, cultural and economic way.”

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