Pride is Freedom, Freedom is Pride

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

An outsider on tour, I was spellbound to see the spontaneous applause that millions of citizens of New York City gave the participants in this year’s Pride March confirming that freedom is pride, pride is freedom. The participants were, as always since 1969, the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, insisting upon recognition of their human rights by legal removal of barriers to same-sex marriage.

Photo: Saswat Pattanayak

This march was historic, because it was the first march after the birthplace of the gay-rights movement, the New York State, legalized same-sex marriage on June 24.

President Obama has praised the adoption of the Law in the most populous State’s Senate where even four members of the Republican Party, the known opponents of same-sex marriage, supported the Marriage Bill to make it possible for Governor Andrew M. Cuomo to sign it into Law.

Photo: Saswat Pattanayak

Even as a single member of the Democratic Party, Sen. Ruben Diaz opposed his party’s official move by toeing the Bible line to term the Bill a harbinger of doomsday and saying, “I am Christian first and then a Democrat”, Republican Senator Mark J. Grisanti almost reflected the legislative wisdom of the four Republicans, who supported the Bill. He says, “I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, the people of my district and across this State, the State of New York, and those people who make this great State that it is, the same rights that I have with my wife”.

Sen. Grisanti may not be entirely right in comparing the gay-rights with the rights he has with his wife. Because, as I gathered from some of the cheerers of the pride march, who, like me, were not any part of gay-rights movement, the same-sex marriage, over and above being biological, is a matter of compatible companionship.

The Pride march, carries the concept that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people should be proud of their own biological distinctions, choice of companionship and of their tenacious championing of the freedom for such choice.

If the watchdogs of morality who boast of their loyalty to God to define which good others must follow and, on the basis of what they project as words of the God, ill-define the LGBT people as ‘queer’, the Pride-parade’s proud assertion is: “God has made us Queer”.

No qualms. No shame.

Rather the Pride march is assertion of the opposite sense of shame when the oppressors have used ‘shame’ as the ploy throughout to justify their organized attacks on the self-rights of LGBT people, resulting in numerous hate crimes on a regular basis.

There is no necessity of telling that the Police had wrought havoc on gays and lesbians at the Stonewall Inn in the Greenwich Village of New York City in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 holding them as a ‘shame’ to the society; because the event is too well-known to warrant a narration. There is necessity of stressing on the fact that the victims of the said police raid, the LGBT people, whom the term ‘minority’ applies in societal sense, have written their story of success in obtaining their freedom from the State-sponsored system of oppression through sheer dedication to opposition to oppression and perseverance in revolt against oppression.

Photo: Saswat Pattanayak

Gay-rights movement is a movement against violation of human rights on the basis of sexual orientation.

That, it has succeeded in the State it was most infamously brutalized in America, is indicative of the fact that it was never opposed to by the majority of the society. It is indicative only of how majority of people in their heart are not averse to biological distinction of LGBT people and do not oppose their individual choice of companionships. The New York State Senate has done a tremendous service to democracy by legalizing same-sex marriage in recognizing the biological distinction of LGBT persons.

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak with the rainbow flag in hand at the 2011 Pride March. Photo: Amrita Misra

It is natural for all lovers of freedom and democracy to welcome the New York law that grants the gay-rights and legalizes same-sex marriage.

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