We live in very exciting times wherein the Indian LGBT community has experienced more change in attitude, acceptance and levels of tolerance in the last couple of years, than it has done in over a century.
However, so many queers still live dual lives at home, at work and even with the closest of friends. They constantly live in fear of being ‘outed’ and losing the ones they love most. Hence most queers live very lonely lives, without having the opportunity to openly share their emotions and express who they really are.
It is basic human nature to be a part of a cohesive group of like-minded individuals. This creates a sense of belonging, a sense of community, a sense of knowing that someone will be there for me no matter what. It was this need to create an emotional support system that prompted the launch several initiatives over the past year in the form of eZines, support groups, counseling centers, etc.
The Queer Chronicle (popularly referred to as TQC) was launched in Pune (Maharashtra) in September 2009 as India’s first city-centric queer-focused monthly ezine. The magazine started with a modest readership of about 250. Twelve editions later, TQC’s readership has crossed nearly 1200 readers, with queer and queer-friendly readers in over 20 countries.
Pune has always had a substantial queer community, but there was a distinct void in cohesiveness and a lack of sheer opportunity to connect with like-minded individuals. The ability to communicate is one of most powerful tools available to humans and it was the right time to launch a magazine that was for and by the queers.
Soon after the launch of TQC’s Pune edition, there were requests from readers in other cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, that they wished that such a magazine existed for their cities as well. Over the past year, The Queer Chronicle has evolved into something a bit bigger than a mere city-focused magazine. We now have writers from across the country and we also try to address topics of pan-India interest.
The Queer Chronicle publishes an eclectic mix of stories that are focused on sharing of experiences and tackling issues specific to the queer community like health, discrimination and coming out. The magazine also features columns on travel, restaurants, events, movies and businesses. Something that one may find in any straight lifestyle magazine.
The balance in queer-focused and queer-friendly content is intentional, to make it more palatable for straight folk and to help them realize that other than our sexual preferences, we are not really that different. The more we, as LGBT people tell our stories and engage the straights in our lives, the closer we are to achieving equality.
Readers have often written in about how relevant the content is in context of today’s crazy world and how they can identify with the situations portrayed through TQC’s articles. The has helped readers understand what ‘being queer’ really means, has helped them to connect with like-minded individuals and has even given some readers the courage to come out to their families!
The efforts made by The Queer Chronicle have begun to become visible. Although a late bloomer, today Pune is one of the most talked about cities within the queer community, after Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore. There is significant progress in building a sense of community. An ecosystem has been built where queers can talk, laugh, confide, quarrel, party, promote business and most importantly a space where queers can hang up their straight masks and be the people who they really are.
TQC has touched many lives and TQC remains committed to making a difference.