If I had met any other queer person or had attended a talk or session in school around sexuality, that would have remarkably helped my self-esteem and confidence while growing up. My limited exposure to narratives of queer sexuality pushed my emotions into a never-ending internal turbulence; a turbulence unbearable for an adolescent person.
Highlighting how everything that we talk about when we talk about queer issues caters to only a privileged section of society, they share how access to technology and the internet, which may sound like a non-issue for a person of able-bodymind, may not be even suited for disabled people’s use. In that sense, they say that a disabled person gets “doubly marginalised.”
I identify as a bisexual cis woman but i came out as polyamourous not very long ago, after a lot of struggle with myself; this is my first attempt to go public with this piece of information. Not that it will make a difference to anyone but it will change a lot of things for me.
When you realise your boss only does off-the-record, early morning catch-ups with you alone as soon as he discovered you are the gay lead in a play. Off work, he continues to single-handedly use his position of power to intimidate and invalidate you, without ever mentioning your sexuality.
Walking into my first group session felt nerve wracking and started to bring anxiety; however, since I was not required to speak or share about myself, there was much less pressure and I could be in the background. Unlike graduate school, where you can’t really get by without talking to anyone, I went on for days without speaking to anyone during my group therapy sessions. I didn’t know what to say or the right thing to say, I didn’t know if there was a point even in sharing what I was going through to a group of strangers.
Most days, I still don’t feel queer enough. People call me a “boring bisexual” because I am not big on the performance of my sexuality. There was a lot of internalised homophobia and misogyny that I had to unlearn for me to be able to come out. It didn’t happen in a day, it still hasn’t. It’s a process I am still working through but the self-doubt, incessant questioning, and feelings of being an imposter haven’t stopped.
The moment when Xtina, Brintey Spears and Madonna kissed on stage at the 2003 VMAs has been immortalized and widely-reviewed as provocative. For most of us who are not cis-men, it is evident that this kiss was largely fetishized, playing into the fantasy of the male gaze that enjoys watching women kiss for the viewer's pleasure.
The famous Kareena Kapoor truism from Jab We Met, “Main apni favourite hoon” (I am my own favourite) is unfortunately hard to believe — I'm sorry, Kareena! but it's just hard to love myself as a non-binary, queer person.
I was anxious
when I was told to come see you—
anxieties many say I shouldn't have felt
had I been with “the right one”.
Representation in the active politics and bureaucracy, having equal job opportunities, equal wages, right to safe living & public spaces, not being used as a wider consumer group for merchandise, not being othered or alienated from society - all of these matters just as much, if not more. This is what makes queer existence so political, whether we acknowledge it or not - having to demand the same rights and safety that straight people take for granted.
By and large, the tone of the Indian queer movement has been set by upper-caste Hindus. Queer individuals hailing from dominant-caste backgrounds have an unstated monopoly over the leadership of the movement. In fact, they are the face of the movement.
Vice India’s latest cultural piece on Indian fashion influencers Komal Pandey and Siddharth Batra positions them as pioneers of “gender bending fashion” – the catch-all terminology used to describe cis girlbosses in suits and cis men in skirts.
We are constantly surrounded by myriad capitalist forces like movies, magazines, fashion, and more that reiterate being thin as the ideal. So even when you want to accept yourself, you are hindered in this journey because you can’t find clothes in your size in stores, or a family member is being judgemental, or you’re being bullied by a medical healthcare provider, or a hundred other things screaming at you that you ought to become thin. Pallavi and Ameya are two individuals who know these struggles all too well and have taken it upon themselves to publicly combat these notions through their podcast called Fat.So?
2017 also happens to be the year of my coming out, chancing upon Bill Hayes’ memoir Insomniac City, and making a career shift from engineering to writing. It was a rebirth of sorts. But more so, it’s important to register that it was also the year that I finally stopped being skinny-shamed.
When I joined this new job, I was unaware of the terms "Inclusive organization", "Diversity, equity and Inclusion." When I realized that there are organizations inclusive of LGBTQIA+ employees, it was a ray of hope for me. But, instead of searching for a job for myself in an inclusive organization with my previous qualifications, I decided to choose a career in diversity and inclusion to ensure that no other soul had to go through the trauma that I had suffered in my workplace environment.
You, a stranger miles away.
I won't romanticize this feeling that I felt,
I just like being liked.
I remember that I waited for you for two hours. I was shuffling between the pages of my diary, trying to write many things about you, so at least one thing will eventually make sense. But it was as challenging as looking for a needle in a haystack to express what I feel for you.
Amidst this pandemic wherein people seem to be dropping dead around us, wherein the vaccine is rationed out based on your access to state-sanctioned identity and smartphone apps, an initiative allowing trans folx to travel by bus for free, alongside cis-women, simply feels too little too late, and frankly, quite out of place.
Thanks to the Ideosync UNESCO Information Fellowship Grant that Prithvi qualified for, this podcast emerged as a media project carried out between Oct 2020 and March 2021. Prithvi’s aim was to mainly spread awareness about the transmasculine community, their struggles, joys, victories and every day experiences which although seemingly insignificant to others, has significant impact on how one views and accepts themselves.
It feels like I’m reading a sign at the train station, This can’t be me, can it?
Buried under those fluorescent-dyed teddy bears, I’m the shiny little one in the corner,
Maybe this time it’ll be my turn.