“We are not a part of a form. We are all different in our own ways.”
This special issue of Swabhimaan ‘Astitva’ delves into the various frameworks of society that queer individuals engage with. It aims to shed light on the various scenarios of the Indian queer community where, amidst debates concerning the lack of legislation and equality, there exists a spark of hope for social change, acceptance and unity; all that is depicted by the existence of June, pride month.
By attending a pride parade in Pune and interacting with organisations and queer individuals from the community, this issue aims to voice multiple perspectives on the struggles faced at a social and personal level.
Although splintered opinions exist on marriage, queer-run organisations that provide legal aid, organise events, fund housing and education, and provide a safe space within support groups to share personal experiences tie the community together in various ways. Several organisations have been working towards providing a platform for individuals of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum to share their stories and experiences.
This practice of storytelling helps one get acquainted with other people who have similar experiences of stigma and gradually normalises these unique episodes. Similarly, queer organisations shed light on the struggles queer people face, such as the absence of equal rights or the struggles with coming out and being accepted as who you indeed are. Organisations perform a critical role in uniting the community so they can stand together for their rights.
Savita Kumbhar talks about personal experiences as a queer person in India.
Abhilash Krishna Choudhary speaks about issues arising within the LGBTQIA community and Pride Parade celebrations between different groups.
While the work done by organizations is important, their reach and resources are limited. When it comes to working toward civil liberties, the Indian State has a major role to play in ensuring appropriate legislation. To motivate the state, it is imperative for us citizens to be vocal about queer rights around the year and not concentrate efforts during the month of June only.