Pride: Beyond the show

ARTICLE PARU DANS LE MAURICIEN | 3 JUIN, 2016 – 23:45

 

It felt like yesterday, the first Gay Pride I attended. It was a fine Saturday; the first Saturday of June 2012 at Rose-Hill, Plaza.

 

Amidst the fears and insecurities of what ‘others’ would say, my parents’ reaction, friends and co-workers attitude towards me; amidst this pell-mell situation, taking my courage as a support towards a human rights struggle of minorities and self-affirmation of my queerness, I decided to be part of the movement.

 

Being for an equalitarian society, where the rights and identities of individuals as well as freedom of speech are respected, participating in the Pride was also an act of giving legitimacy to this political belonging. Yet, little did I know of the ‘glamorous and carnivalesque’ show that awaited.

 

Some days before the march, there were calls for volunteers to support in organising for the day – the decorations, holding the banners and displays, blowing balloons. Each step seemed like a tremendous effort to reach the Plaza. Finally, I reached my destination at the early hours to lend a helping hand, or two. There were some known faces of people that I got to know via Facebook, yet I felt like a stranger to this showy event – of travesties and drags in all their feathery bright colours which seemingly drew the largest attention to sensational media. I felt media poorly represented the daily life of the so many Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender individuals; including mine, including drags and travesties; even if I understood their need to be special and affirming in their own ways.

 

Yet, beyond the show, there were – and are – so much unfolding: expressions of youngsters or first-timers feeling at ease with their identities without being judged or oppressed; new acquaintances and the start of friendships and new relationships; the self-affirmation of underprivileged and oppressed people – a space to voice out and to occupy; the hope for the old and the young who were observing from their cars and on the road sidewalks while the parade was unfolding along the roads of Rose-Hill too afraid to walk for their rights but yet being by our side as a sign of silent support; the support of allies and friends walking for their LGBTI friends; the walk of remembrance of that individual who lost a brother, a sister, a friend, a child or a lover due to homophobia. This is my narrative beyond the show; my Pride; a people’s Pride. What is yours?

 

NAJEEB AHMAD FOKEERBUX
Young Queer Alliance

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