Priya M Menon, TNN | Nov 9, 2011
Chennai: They were once a silent part of society, but the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trangender (LGBT) community has been striving to find a voice. Despite battling social prejudices, they have been conducting events to create awareness and are now coming out with magazines.
Kalki Subramaniam of Sahodari Foundation will launch ‘Thirunangai’, a magazine for transgendered people, on December 10, while Chennai Dost, a support group for gay and bisexual men, is planning a Pongal release for its lifestyle magazine, ‘M4G’.
“The aim of ‘Thirunangai’ is to highlight the problems of the transgender community,” says Kalki. “One of the articles will deal with why so many transgender people resort to sex work and begging.” While there are NGOs working with the community, Kalki believes that a magazine will bring change.
The first issue of the 32-page, bi-monthly magazine will be in Tamil. “We plan to make it bilingual later. It is meant for not just the community but also policymakers and NGOs,” says Kalki, who is depending on donations as well as money from Sahodari Foundation for funding. The magazine will be distributed free to transgenders, and available to others for an annual subscription of Rs 300. It will also have an agony aunt column and a film section on Indian and international movies on gender.
Chennai Dost, on the other hand, wants its magazine ‘M4G’ (Magazine for Gays) to be fun. “Across India, there are LGBT magazines that are rights-oriented but we wanted a lifestyle one,” says Kalaban, one of the members.
So the first edition of the quarterly magazine will feature the top 15 hot men in the country. ‘M4G’ will also have fashion tips, recipes, interviews of gay couples living together, and dating tips. But that doesn’t mean it will not deal with serious issues. “Our cover story will focus on how many members of our community are blackmailed,” says Kalaban.
The 60-page magazine will be in English. “Our organisation caters mainly to middle and upper middle class so we decided on an English magazine as we don’t have funds to make it bilingual,” says Vikram Prasanna, founder, Chennai Dost. For the first edition, about 200 copies will be printed and distributed to members of the organisation and gay groups. “It will be priced at Rs 160,” says Prasanna
While many welcome the initiative, some people feel the need to exercise caution. “Though times have changed, especially after the Delhi high court ruling de-criminalising gay sex, crackdowns on the community are still happening,” says L Ramakrishnan, one of the editors of orinam.net, an online bilingual resource for LGBT people.