utopia (/ju??to?pi?/ yoo-TOH-pee-?)
an imagined community or society that possesses highly desirable or nearly perfect qualities for its citizens.
September 6, 2018. A burst of rainbow confetti showers down the Indian subcontinent as the Supreme Court of India ruled unanimously in Navtej Singh Johar v. Union of India that Section 377 was unconstitutional “in so far as it criminalises consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex”. People all over the country, regardless of their gender, sexual and religious identity rejoiced and celebrated the much awaited verdict. That day, all our hearts beat as one, chants of “love wins” rang in every street, sales of rainbow flags skyrocketed. There was hope once again.
Aaannnd the very next day everything was back to ‘normal’, with mindless transphobia and crumbs of negligible queer representation that we fed our stomachs on.
The common assumption was that repealing one unjust law would pave a path for more nonorthodox endeavours like these, which would eventually liberate queer lives and bring about the wave of social justice and normalisation we so desperately craved.
But with unprogressive bills like the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, unacknowledgment of non-binary, Dalit, disabled folks and the fetishisation of queer women, it is needless to say that we’re very far away from that reality. In this fight for justice and the right to exist, many voices stay unheard and many dreams get trampled on.
This piece brings to you the hopes and desires of queer folks from different backgrounds, a utopia they wish to inhabit. The main purpose of this piece is to highlight the things we as a community want to happen and/or achieve. A utopia that stems from the feeling of it being okay to dream and have hope for a future we wish to create.
In a utopia, the state of perfection isn’t achieved by uniformity but with the coexistence of differences in harmony.
Here’s what our fellow queers’ had to say about their utopias –
Anch (He/Him/They) : My queer utopia involves having the minorities from within the community to be represented and accepted for their diversity rather than a sarvana cis gay man be the poster image for the whole of the queer community. I feel that this has created a stark difference within the community about things like racism, fat-phobia etc.
Find Anch on Instagram @the.inquilabi.poet
Raqeeb (He/Him) : The sheer erasure of trans, disabled, Dalit, Adivasi, and Muslim folks within the community pains me the most. My utopia would be a society where we take care of the minorities, where we do not shut them down just because we can’t relate and because we have power. My utopia will be an inclusive community, which doesn’t only take the word at face value but imbibes that in reality. My utopia would be when we win the fight to equal rights at the job, education, and other sectors. My utopia would have people loving people, without others asking them what they ‘identify’ as.
Find Raqeeb on Instagram @daintystrangerphotos
Shivrajeshwar (They/Him) : For starters, it would be great if we wouldn’t need certificates from a District Magistrate to prove our gender. So scrapping of the Trans Act 2019 would be a teeny tiny step towards that utopia. A country where the caste system and Bramhinical patriarchy have both been smashed to pieces by the people. In my Utopia, the people of Kashmir won’t be terrorized by the armed forces and their oppression will have ended. We’ll see Queer people (the actual ones who work for the community and not some privileged cis-gay dude) in positions of power.
Find Shiv on Instagram @krantikarikutta
Existence without binaries:
Krishna (He/Him/They) : In my utopia, gender is just neutral until a person specifies otherwise and the binary never existed. Sex ed is well rounded. I wish people were taught that there are no boxes: be it religion or gender or anything. And that there’s only just being oneself and living one’s best life as long as there is always consent and as long as there is no hurting anyone, with the normalisation of unlearning systems and learning justice, equality and about not-necessarily-evil systems.
Find Krishna on Instagram @krish_music
Tanvi (She/Her) : I want to see people not highlighting or judging gender identities or sexual orientations on a daily basis. The qualities of a person should be much more of a priority than what their lifestyle is. I want people of various gender identities to not be answerable to anyone. I dream of a gender free world with freedom of expression on gender, sex, art, jobs, kids, parents. Where we don’t have to spend half our lives trying to please this society and kill our desires, where we don’t spend the other half hiding, where we stop pretending and let go of the mask.
Find Tanvi on Instagram @trinz.xo
Kris (They/He) : My queer utopia is a post-gender world, without binaries. In a traditional gender construct one is either a man or woman, but in postgenderism one is neither a man nor woman nor any other assumed gender role. Thus an individual in society is not reduced to a gender role but is simply an agent of humanity who is to be defined (if at all) by one’s actions. Every unnecessary gender segregation, be it for clothes, washrooms, security checks, would be redundant in that utopia.
Find Kris on Instagram @sorta_kris
S (She/Her) : My utopia does away with anything that confines us to the predetermined, archaic binaries, where ‘coming out” doesn’t have to be an act of bravery and courage, where sexualities aren’t treated as personality traits and where one doesn’t have to reiterate that trans men are men and trans women are women, a place where acceptance of differences is the norm. My utopia is where ‘the other’ doesn’t exist.
Life without judgement:
Christopher (He/Him) : Being able to hold hands in public in some parts of Mumbai without being scared. Being able to talk openly and hug a boy goodbye. That is my utopia.
Find Christopher on Instagram @christopher_rs23
J (He/ Him) : In my utopia, I want the normalisation of different sexualities. I want it to be like whenever someone comes out as gay or pansexual, the response should be a normal, ‘Oh okay’ rather than it be treated like a surprising detail with an ‘Oh my gosh, that’s great’. Statements like ‘Mr X is a gay singer’ and ‘Oh, and she’s lesbian as well’ subtly put the notion that being straight is somehow the default. We never say something like ‘Mr X is a straight singer’, right? It’s as if the LGBTQ+ community is still being as the ‘Other’.
Abhimanyu (He /Him ) : I dream of having a nice boyfriend. I’m optimistic and happy at heart whenever I see all those lovebirds sharing their love life. But I’m very pessimistic about being in one myself, half because of bad experiences and half because of my fear of judgement. In simple words I adore beautiful relationships and I dream to be in one.
Find Abhimanyu on Instagram @abhi_means_noww
Shivangi (She/Her) : Utopia for me would be a timeless space where we embrace each other’s failures and losses. Where there is no such thing as winning or hierarchies, or capitalist things like that. Utopia would be somewhere that we make love with our friends and care for each other to flourish together. The best kind of utopia that I can imagine would be A Kitchen which is outside the idea of walls and borders. A Kitchen which is open and accessible, where there is abundance, poetry and art.
Find Shivangi on Instagram @disabledspice
J ( He / Him) : My utopia is what heterosexual people consider a normal life. I want to be able to live with my partner and be allowed to buy a place for us without judgement. In my utopia I won’t have to fear my neighbours finding out about who I live with. I want to live a life that I want, without the heightened fear of judgement.
R (He/Him) : It feels great to have the very existence of us legitimised and protected. But we all know the LGBTQ+ community is looked down on in India and the silence on this topic doesn’t help much. Being an NRI, maybe my picture of what it’s like in India is limited. My Indian colleagues, friends, and family just brush the topic away because they’re too uncomfortable voicing their thoughts. How can we make any changes and progress for our community when we don’t have a concrete idea on their reasons, opinions, beliefs, and values? My queer utopia would be to get people talking, so that we know exactly what’s wrong, and how we can go about making change from all the possible roots. Utter silence isn’t going to get us our marriage equality rights, right?
Humanisation of the queer and disabled:
Rakshit ( He/ Him) : My life as a disabled queer person always has me reaching extra miles in search of love. I have always had to choose between my freedom or my security. My freedom wants me to take risks and go meet with people I don’t know but my security wants me to let other people in my life know about my whereabouts all the time, lest I need help. People within the community itself want to be with someone who’s disability is not as clearly visible, which makes it even more difficult to find acceptance in who I am. I want a utopia where there’s a free flow, where my experiences don’t set me apart from everyone, I want normalcy, acceptance and no judgement or hesitancy for embracing each other for who we are.
Find Rakshit on Instagram @theunpropheticelijah
Cross community solidarity
Jo (They/Them) : My utopia is heavily based on different intersections of our communities building solidarities and friendships to fight this fascist state as one. I particularly mean this in the case of the sex worker community and the queer community that has been unfortunately mostly separated in their movements although our fights for self determination are so similar. This is the same for our intersections on disability, caste, people from occupied lands, religious minorities. I dream of a space where we are able to unite in all our fights.
Find Jo at @karmicdev on Instagram
What does your queer utopia look like?