At least 300 turn out to celebrate the first queer pride parade in the city of Lucknow, India, this weekend. Both LGBT and straight people took to the streets in solidarity nearly 18 years after Kolkata held the first pride event in the country. People came from as far away as Mumbai, Kolkata, Chandigarh and Jaipur to walk the 1.5km parade route hand in hand, waiving rainbow flags and banners with slogans expressing how proud they are to be gay Muslims. Ashock Row Kavi, chairman of India’s oldest LGBT organisation the Humsafar Trust in Mumbai said, “Lucknow was the epicentre of gay culture in the Gangetic plain which was evident in even its literature such as Umrao Jan Ada and was suppressed by the British. We are only keeping the tradition alive though the modern Indian political class is ashamed of it.” An organiser from the Awadh Pride Committee, Darvesh Singh Yadavendra told The Times of India, “Like many others, I’m also surprised to see so many people coming out and supporting us. It is very moving for me and for everyone participating. A country where queer people are free is truly free and everybody can walk with dignity, so we are here to celebrate diversity of gender and sexuality, against any discrimination.” The event is going to celebrate acceptance and diversity and to oppose harassment and violence against LGBT.