India is celebrating June as the Pride Month, and even the coronavirus pandemic hasn’t diluted the spirits. Some of the most popular queer artists in the country like Maya the Drag Queen, Betta Naan Stop, Zeeshan Ali and Ma Faiza, have talked about how they’re celebrating the month.
"I am celebrating it by educating people about the LGBTQIA+ community. I have been getting into panel discussions in colleges, corporate spheres etc. I am also doing Instagram lives to make the audience understand that we just need to be recognised as people of the society," says popular artist Maya the Drag Queen.
Another popular drag artist Zeeshan opened up about ‘pride’ as a concept of revolution more than celebration. "I think I needed this time to refresh my memories and realise that the pride month is not a celebration at its core. It was riot in the beginning that started the revolution for the LGBTQIA+ community. This pride month, my time is not taken up by celebrations, but by learning more about the community. Raising tough questions on pressing issues, answering questions, speaking for and about the community in the best way that I can do. I want to do whatever it takes to bring in more momentum in every possible way," says Zeeshan.
"I think anyone who has any kind of following and influence should use their platforms for betterment of the society. Sometimes you being your authentic self is a big move in itself! In case, there is someone who wants to be like you, can see for themselves your journey and your achievements, your challenges and tribulations. Your circle of influence is in your hands and what better thing than doing what you love and bringing a change in the society," says Prateek Sachdev, better known as Betta Naan Staap.
So what is the way forward for the community legally to achieve equality? Ma Faiza, who has been a DJ for over 25 years, was once told about her sexuality that the "public did not need to know that."
She said that even though the country has come a long way, it still has a lot more to go. "For the laws to change and support the people that need these changes, the answers are all there within. Unfortunately, the understanding that goes with making massive reforms and changes to old outdated laws is that the people making these laws are not connected to or from our various queer communities so the level of real change is just superficial," she concludes.
Maya the Drag Queen, Betta Naan Stop, Zeeshan Ali and DJ Ma Faiza are performing in VH1 India's Pride Celebrations as well as Virtual Pride Parade.
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