This Sunday, Delhi walks in its fifth annual queer pride parade. Each year at this time the question arises again: why a pride parade? Transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual, hijra, kothi, and intersex people still have too many answers to give. While a decision on the appeals against the 2009 Naz judgment still remains pending, stories of continuing violence on the bodies of those deemed different do not wait for the Supreme Court. Queer people continue to have no legal protections against discrimination in the workplace; to be forcibly dragged to psychologists; to be forced to lie, cheat and conceal their lives; to be victims of familial, domestic and public violence and to feel, in so many ways both in their own minds and in the eyes of many others, like lesser citizens.
What this past year has reminded us is that they are not alone. The fundamental pillars of what enables this violence – fear, prejudice, intolerance – seem to have dug themselves deeper into our cities just as the institutions and democratic safeguards meant to combat them seem to have floundered. The ranks of urban residents who have experienced that deeply queer moment of exclusion and otherness – whether or not it speaks the particular idiom of sexuality – have grown. This year, as people once again take to the streets, they must do so not just for themselves but for the cities they inhabit and, increasingly, must protect.
Continue reading A City’s Pride
This is a fun radio show of various songs that queer spaces in Delhi and Bombay have reclaimed as our own. It is also a a coming together of songs that lend itself to queering almost effortlessly. A fun listening experience with snippets of information and laughs mixed in.
Guest post by Indu Vashist
Soundtrack of the Indian Queer Movement originally aired on Sunday October 9, 2011, 6-7pm EST. Hosts, Indu Vashist and Srinath Baba had special guests Ponni Arasu and Gautam Bhan in studio for commentary, history and a whole lot of laughs. Listen to full broadcast here.
Montreal-based Indu Vashist and Srinath Baba are the hosts of Desi Dhamaka, a South Asian music show with a political and social twist. It airs on CKUT, a non-profit, campus-community radio station based at McGill University. CKUT provides alternative music, news and spoken word programming to the city of Montreal and surrounding areas, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Hear us at 90.3 MHz on the FM dial, 91.7 by cable, or listen on-line.
The text below was written as an email on many LGBT lists in India. Followed by the text of the email are a few after thoughts on the email itself and the reaction to it.
It’s been interesting to watch all the reactions to A.P.Shah’s unfair retirement. This has been from various quarters including the LGBT community.
One must admit, among all the communities whose lives his judgments have attempted to change, we have been rather vocal in thanking him profusely. This is a good trend to set in general as sometimes I feel others working on various issues whose work has been vindicated rather literally by him have not taken the time out to do an analysis and express their gratitude towards the existence of a judge like him, in the otherwise difficult judiciary in this country. This might make a difference to him. He is hurt by the judiciary which he dedicated his life to which has now slighted him through opaque, undemocratic processes, thus going against all that he stands for and what the judiciary claims to stand for. So am glad we are doing this! Continue reading While we thank A.P.Shah, some reflections
Below are excerpts from an interview I did with a fascinating artists and activist who initiated a process in me, simple and obvious, and yet complicated and hardly ever embarked upon- vis-a-vis the politics of gender and sexuality. Ins has challenged the routine of the politics we engage in and the world view we sometimes unintentionally take for granted and thus make static, Hoping for an engaging discussion on the issues Ins lays out below.
Also, something to think about: how we write articles in popular media about difficult, unspoken of issues to just put them out there. To bring about some visibility but at the cost of some of the complexity? Sometimes visibility even at the cost of compromise on our politics of how we speak of pain and pleasure in all our lives and in the context of the frameworks of oppression? I see myself having done this below in my fleeting account of Ins’s life and work. How then do we engage with the mainstream media and find the language to articulate complexities approachably and regularly? It’s the eternal question but lets ask it again because, as we all know, we have to. :) Continue reading Interview with Ins Kromminga, German intersex activist and artist
Guest post by MOIRA MCDONALD (Written three years ago).
“I want to be Jane,” repeats my two year old, this time bringing his face very close to mine for special emphasis. “He has to be Michael. Michael is the boy” says his nearly four year old sister Naomi who is oh-so aware of her budding gender identity. “Honey, you know in our family, anyone can pretend to be anything. Someday you may want to pretend to be boy, or a cow for that matter,” I explain. She shrugs agreeing to his choice as long as she can be Mary Poppins. I wish the contradictions surrounding gender identity were as easily resolved for the other adults in our lives.
Continue reading My son Jane: Moira McDonald
Since Gay is in, currently, for the Indian media, Sonali Gulati, film-maker, out lesbian and gay rights activist, knows what it is to be hotly pursued for sound-bites. She has posted on youtube a recorded conversation with a reporter from IBN 7 pressing her for her take on a “lesbian” issue. Her quiet , insistent questioning reduces him to confused gibberish, but more importantly, makes the point that “lesbians” are no more and no less newsworthy than straight people – At one point she asks him, “Agar yeh ek heterosexual couple ke saath ho jaata, tab aap kis se comment lete?”
(If this had happened with a heterosexual couple, then to whom would you have gone for comments?)
Meaning of course, that any and every heterosexual would not be considered “expert” enough to comment on any and every heterosexual issue. The bemused reporter starts all over again with his insane drivel – he simply does not get it. Can she really be giving up an opportunity to appear on television? Naaah.
But go on – listen to Sonali.