Colourful parades in the USA are a prominent feature of Pride Month. In addition, there are many street parties, community events, poetry readings, public speaking street festivals, and educational sessions going on all over – all of which attract millions of participants, and are extensively covered by mainstream media. With the laws and regulations in this space changing in India as well, Pride Month has started gaining a lot of importance here along with wider societal implications. Although condescending attitudes and obvious injustice are still very much a part of
the real, everyday social life for this community, small but significant changes are being seen as society’s perspectives are improving and inclusiveness is being encouraged. This can be vouched for because
“#pride2021india” has been trending more than ever this year.
Fashion celebrates globally
At the very beginning of the month, DKNY came up with the hashtag #DKNYpride, uniting with the largest and oldest organization Herrick- Martin Institute. They ran a social media campaign, connecting the youth
to create a fund-raiser, and featured the social media star and exceptional drag queen ‘Plastique Tiara’, among others. This was followed by the fast-fashion brand FashionNova – which mostly trends amongst the GenZ population – putting up a beautiful poster depicting the diversity of the LGBTQIA+ community, spilling tea in a YouTube video, wearing T-shirts that said, My Gender My Rules. The first week was quite an impressive kick start of Pride Month celebrations, and many celebrities were seen indulging in the festive spirit.
Lady Gaga quoted,“No matter gay, straight, bi, lesbian, transgender life – on the right
track baby. I was born to survive,” on E! News. Even brands like Ralph Lauren, Adidas, Abercrombie & Fitch, Nordstrom, Olay Skincare, Ugg, Madewell, Rue21, Gap, Fossil, and Reebok launched their special line of
products dedicated heartily to the LGBTQIA+ community, with vibrant lines of rainbows and a cheery, colourful packing. Christina Aguilera also put out her limited-edition merchandise to celebrate Pride Month 2021.
Victoria Beckham got back together with the Spice Girls to celebrate Pride Month and created limited-edition T-shirts with the caption “Proud and wannabe your lover,” referencing their iconic debut single ‘Wannabe’.
Mariah Carey too had dropped a colourful new collection earlier this summer, and Disney unveiled its new range just in time for Pride Month 2021 – a brand new rainbow Disney collection of apparel and accessories.
Gender-neutral clothes are definitely a strong statement, but some of these brands took a bolder step ahead to celebrate the rainbow flag with bright designs and breathable materials, smashing one-liners like ‘Love is
Love’, ‘Love Unites’, ‘I Am Me’, ‘Proud’, and so many more. These captions are brightening this month of June with happiness, freedom, and celebrations all around the world.
Indian knight of shining rainbow
Prince Manavendra Singh Gohil is an Indian Prince, the heir of the Maharaja of Rajpipla in Gujarat. He’s the first prince to proudly accept his identity of being a part of the LGBTQIA+ community. He’s running a charity called ‘Lakshya Trust’ which is doing tremendous work in support of the LGBTQIA+ community. This Ajmer-born Rajasthani-origin heir from Rajpipla has his own story of bravery to live and tell, setting a bar of inspiration for many. Being educated at Bombay Scottish School, and then at Amrutben Jivanlal College of Commerce and Economics (one of the institutions in the Mithibai College campus in Vile Parle, Mumbai), he had gotten married under respect for his family traditions. He later stated, “I thought after marriage I would be alright, that with a wife, everything would become okay, I will have children and become “normal” and then I will be at peace. I never knew and nobody told me that I was gay and that this itself is normal and it will not change. This is what is called
homosexuality and it is not a disease. I tremendously regret ruining the life of my first marriage partner. I feel guilty, but I simply did not know better.” Manvendra Singh’s marriage had remained unconsummated and
he got admitted to the hospital in 2002, suffering from a nervous breakdown post his divorce from that first marriage. Eventually, with professional help and his parents’ support, he confided about his sexual orientation and the mental stress he had endured to his friend, a journalist from one of the well-known news portals of Gujarat. He carried his story out in a publication in 2006. Later, he appeared as a guest on the Oprah Winfrey Show on 24 th October 2007. He was one of 3 persons featured in the show that was themed as Gay Around the World. And, in 2008, he inaugurated the Euro Pride Gay Festival in Stockholm, Sweden, and also featured in a BBC Television series – ‘Undercover Prince’ which was screened on BBC Three in the UK in 2009. The TV series documented his search for a British boyfriend in Brighton. He also gave a speech at a TED TALK event, and since 2010, he has served as the editor
of the gay male-centric print magazine Fun. In 2013, Manavendra married an American man. Currently, he’s merged with GEP and continues to inspire the LGBTQIA+ community and leads with integrity and
May the rainbow flag fly higher
With time and education, it is no more taboo to belong to a community that gives you the freedom of living life and celebrating one’s identity. Pride Month was not born out of a need to celebrate being gay, but for having the right to exist without persuasion, for being proud of it, and being brave enough to face discrimination. So today, let’s resolve that instead of wondering why there isn’t a straight pride movement, one should be thankful that they don’t need one. If you’re truly an advocate of the freedom to live life as one wants, just be supportive and help make the society more egalitarian.