ITANAGAR- AP QueerStation recently hosted a series of engaging events to celebrate Pride Month. The festivities, held at the conference hall of Mumsie Hotel, Itanagar, commenced with a joyful cake cutting ceremony and showcased a diverse range of activities, including poetry sessions, storytelling, dancing, and more.
The event centered on the powerful theme of “Rage and Resilience,” and received substantial support from Durex’s “The Birds and Bees Talk,” a purpose-driven initiative backed by Reckitt and executed by Plan India. The gathering saw an incredible turnout of over 200 queer individuals and dedicated allies.
Notable guests in attendance included esteemed figures such as Capital ICR Talo Potom, renowned women’s rights activist Jarjum Ete, Oju Mission Chairperson Ratan Anya, SI Naharlagun Sushant Saurabh Jha, accomplished artist/actor Millo Sunka, Mr. Arunachal Tumken Sora, and Miss Arunachal Pradesh Radhe Mamung.
The vibrant atmosphere celebrated the LGBTQIA+ community’s resilience and honored their ongoing fight for visibility, acceptance, and equality. The event featured an array of food stalls, where community members prepared delectable treats to raise funds for AP QueerStation. Attendees also enjoyed browsing through the book stall from Reader’s Realm Library, Itanagar, and indulging in refreshments at Deja Brew Cafe.
Sawang Wangchha, a queer activist and founder of AP QueerStation, extended a warm welcome to the esteemed guests, expressing profound gratitude to all attendees, both queer individuals and passionate allies. He acknowledged their unwavering support, highlighting their pivotal role in the organization’s remarkable progress over the past year and a half.
During the event, Sawang also shared about how he and his community had a tough time dealing with government offices, where they had to faced homophobia and all sorts of obstacles just to submit a letter. The letter was about asking the departments to think again about a notice related to the ongoing Marriage Rights case in the Supreme Court, which required input from all 26 districts of Arunachal Pradesh. Sawang made it clear that it was totally unfair and didn’t make any sense to leave out queer folks and groups as stakeholders. He stressed how crucial their perspectives were in shaping policies that affect LGBTQIA+ rights.
Renowned women’s rights activist Jarjum Ete advocated for a review of tribal customs to ensure inclusivity for women and other gender and sexual minorities in the state. She emphasized the urgent need for support, particularly focusing on queer youth, highlighting the transformative power of education in promoting empathy and understanding. Jarjum also drew attention to the historical presence of queer individuals within Arunachal’s tribal societies.
Ratan Anya, the Chairperson of Oju Welfare Association, reaffirmed the organization’s steadfast support for the queer community of Arunachal. She assured distressed LGBTQIA+ individuals of their commitment to providing immediate assistance and support in times of need.
Millo Sunka, a celebrated artist, shared insights on being a better ally and expressed her presence at the event as an opportunity to listen and learn from the marginalized community’s lived experiences. Former Mr. Arunachal Tumken Sora and one of the winners of Miss Arunachal 2022, Radhe Mamung, voiced unequivocal support for the LGBTQIA+ community, emphasizing the importance of embracing love and humanity. SI Sushant Saurabh Jha, a compassionate police officer, expressed solidarity with the community by reciting heartfelt poems about life and resilience, showcasing his support through creative expression.
Queer activist and founder of Xomonoy, Shivlal Gautam, traveled from Guwahati to highlight the significance of queer activism in the state. Despite facing numerous homophobic threats, Shivlal’s commitment to advancing LGBTQIA+ rights remains unwavering. He shared his personal experiences of adversity and the resilience of his fellow activists, highlighting the importance of creating a more inclusive and accepting society.
DC ICR Talo Potom, who was also present at the event, received heartfelt gratitude from community members for ensuring their safety and providing assistance during their previous meeting in his office. The community expressed their deep respect for his support and dedication.
AP QueerStation’s Pride Month celebration exemplified the spirit of unity, resilience, and progress within the LGBTQIA+ community of the State. It provided an empowering platform for queer individuals and their allies to come together, celebrate diversity, and advocate for equal rights and acceptance.