Until recently, the conversation on sexuality and gender in the workspace was minuscule. This attitude also extends to academia, wherein queer individuals often report feeling alone, unwelcome and unsupported.
Aneesha, who teamed up with photographer Harish and stylist Divya, collaborated for NAAZ to give us a glimpse of what it means to live in a post-377 India through 6 young voices of the community.
Shyam and Bunty
Sucking on ripe mangoes,
And so, in the cool shade of the Gulmohar tree,
They bend and break their first ever rule.
I shall retrace our footsteps- which do not exist anymore, a thousand times over. Then visit the quaint little bookshop we went to, sit in a corner, unobserved & longingly sigh.
In Denmark, especially Copenhagen, everyone is very open-minded. Everything is very accepted—you can be whoever you want to be.
An armchair critic up to the age of 30. I finally decided to take the plunge and come out publicly in 2004. I had been out to close friends and family for a decade. The catalyst for my activism was the Islamist movement and its growing influence within communities like mine in Luton.
'The Song of Achilles' is a book based on the mythology, and supposed relationship of Achilles, a half-god who was destined to be the best warrior of his generation, and Patroclus, an awkward, prince disliked by his father, who is exiled to live in Achilles' kingdom, along with several other exiled princes.
An abnormality he thought,
And then with himself he fought.
He thought of himself as foul,
So god's help he sought.
Manifestations of internalized homophobia can include: denial of sexual orientation to oneself and others, attempts to alter or change one’s sexual orientation, discomfort with other gay people, unsafe sexual practices and other destructive risk-taking behaviours, including risk for HIV and other STIs.
It was a Sunday afternoon in Delhi, and the sun blazed hot with warm winds touching the skin. He met Naman for the last time in his tiny apartment, the apartment where they had first met.
A piece of adhesive
Of the colour red.
The scream of a woman -
“Chakka hai ki ladki?”
Her spectacled eyes
Upon my bindi.
Through calling this exhibition ‘Who’s the freak’, Ahuja is placing their audience in front of the final exasperated WTF question to the cis, the hetero and the ignorant.
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Here in India, not much data is available on bullying in educational institutions let alone on bullying of queer children and young adults. But we do know that it happens.
Located not so long ago in the 20th Century, the story goes like this - a young boy finds lust and love in the company of a classmate at the ashram where he holes up with a brood of other boys and manly monks.
I was no rebel
And this, was a rebellion
Him, oh! how he still made his Abbu proud
The man stood up against the fire
For the country that he loved more than his life
The partially scrapping of Section 377 has been a long time coming, and unfortunately, due to this, the general homophobic, misogynistic and patriarchal mindset that most cis-het Indians have had for centuries, has not changed much.
The app is supposed to act like a one stop centre for anything to do with sexual health. It uses complex latest evidence based algorithms to detect one’s objective risk of HIV and STD before directing the user to the nearest testing/treatment facility that fits their age, gender and sexual orientation/gender identity.
I bite on to his wet neck and shoulders
The salt - reminiscent of oceans
And whole horizons
His body letting out a deep moan
Like smoke rising out
Of smouldering amber.
This first step into this world, into his community, was filled with uncertainly, confusion, and fear. It is for most people. Going into something and not knowing what one is going to find there is certainly one of the most vulnerable positions to put oneself in.