DU queer platform aims to banish anonymity
The Delhi University Queer Collective (DUQC) is celebrating the 10th anniversary of Delhi Queer Pride on November 12 by consolidating students from the LGBTQI+ community. What’s new this year is that the students have shared their journeys and experiences on online platforms in a campaign called The Pride Writeathon, jointly organised by the collective and Youth Ki Awaaz, an online content publishing platform. The majority have shared their stories under their real names — a striking departure from what was, until now, the norm.
“We all talk of queer pride but no one knows the struggle behind it. The campaign is an effort to bring out these stories and what goes on behind them, whether they are tales of love, hate, desire or anything else,” says Rafiul Alom Rahman, the founding member of DUQC and an LGBTQ activist.
The campaign featured 13 stories at the time of going to press, and is a part of the runup to the annual Pride March to be held in the Capital. “For queer students who haven’t come out yet, this will be great encouragement and will also help them get a sense of belonging,” Rafiul adds.
Banishing anonymity becomes imperative, since the subject is still taboo in the circles that queer individuals inhabit. “A movement of this sort is necessary to normalise people about the queer community,” says Srestha Bhattacharya, a third-year Sociology student from Miranda House, who identifies as a lesbian.
For some others, like Keshav Kumar (name
changed), a second-year gay student from Ramjas College, the situation was bleak. “My mannerisms were very feminine and that did not sit well with my father. I was 10 when he beat me up for dressing like a girl,” he says. Outside the house, he was called “chhakka and hijra”, Keshav recalls.
Harish Iyer, an activist and a visiting faculty in a Mumbai college, feels that such movements should also include teachers.
A pride march participant File photo of Delhi Queer Pride march on November 29, 2015. The annual march brings together the LGBTQI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex and more) people