QueerInk : India’s First Gay Bookstore

It’s been a year since 377 and queer businesses are taking off. There’s been an increase in gay magazines, there are exclusive gay themed greeting cards and there’s even a store for queer literature. Queer Ink is the first of its kind in India and stocks over 200 titles from both foreign and Indian authors. Founded by Shobhna Kumar – an out lesbian, Queer Ink sells books in a several different vernacular languages and over many genres including fiction, non-fiction, children’s books, family oriented books and magazines. There are books addressing almost every conceivable LGBTQ issue ranging from the history of the community to politics regarding homosexuality; for young adults questioning themselves to families dealing with a member coming out; there are books for and about gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgenders, cross-dressers, hijras. You name it and Queer Ink stocks it. There’s an equally extensive list of authors – some of them fairly prominent, and a very decent selection of queer fiction.

A couple of books caught my attention including “Gay-2-Zee”, a compendium for queer lingo. This illustrated book contains entries for each letter of the English alphabet including the definition and etymology of various slangs used by the queer community.

The second is “Love, Ellen” by Betty DeGeneres about the bond between Ellen and her mother and their struggles with Ellen’s homosexuality, her coming out and the challenges the two faced.

The third, “Loving women” by Maya Sharma explores the lives and relationships of underprivileged lesbian women in North India. The book is based on the premise that lesbian relationships do not exist only in privileged, urban societies, and seeks to uncover stories of the lesser-seen, lesser-heard-from members of the society.

Then there is also “The L Word- Welcome to our Planet”- an official guide to the show with exclusive behind-the-scenes photos and interviews with the show’s cast, crew and creators . It features tonnes of insider news and trivia about the actors on the show and is a definite must-have for The L Word fans.

The site also features a section called Queer Lingo with vernacular lingo used by and about the queer community and a Queer Calendar with information about gay events around India. So if you know of any, do log on and submit your event. There is also aBook Club, but there isn’t any information on what that will be and when it’ll start.

Queer Ink is a superb initiative for people in India with limited access to queer-themed literature. Online marketing greatly adds to its accessibility making it so much easier for all of us. I know where my next pay cheque’s going.

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A regular "kaala coat" by day, Jane Doe loves women, and women love her (albeit straight ones). But she also likes men - quite a bit in fact. Just stepping into the real world, she's a little bit of a babe in the woods, but hopes that in a few years she'll be in a position to help change things- whichever side of the rainbow she lands up on.
Jane Doe

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