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Q for QFest

Queer Ink and The Hive host the first anniversary party of a very special festival

In 2010, social entrepreneur Shobhna Kumar launched Queer Ink, a discovery of LGBT India through writings, videos and conversations. After four years of considering what it means to come out of the closet in desi style, Kumar thought it was time to move the discussion into a physical space. And, thus, was born QFest in October last year. Hosted in collaboration with Khar-based cultural centre The Hive, QFest is a culture riot but also a safe space to celebrate gay pride through the arts.

 Stalls at the fest will have some tongue-in-cheek wares on sale. PICS/Jai Sangoi/ THE HIVE
Stalls at the fest will have some tongue-in-cheek wares on sale. Pics/Jai Sangoi/THE HIVE

Held on the second Sunday of every month, QFest has hosted a number of speakers and performers, and the same is set for today’s anniversary celebrations. “It’s a Sunday afternoon of people getting together to enjoy cultural activities and discussions on LGBT themes. It’s a festival of affirmation,” says Kumar.

The first QFest saw mythologist and sunday mid-day columnist Devdutt Pattanaik talk about the legend of Shikhandi, a girl who became a male warrior, and other stories that are hush-hushed in India. There have been screenings, such as of Unfree-dom by Raj Amit Kumar, an open-mic featuring poet Varun Grover, and performances like those by MAFAKA (pun intended). Since its first event, QFest has evolved over the months. There have even been belly dance and lavani workshops. It’s a welcome change for the community which is fighting for its rights to indulge in a monthly cultural celebration.

Not just about fighting for LGBT rights, QFest indulges in a cultural celebration
Not just about fighting for LGBT rights, QFest indulges in a cultural celebration

But QFest is for everyone, emphasises Kumar. “We want to reach out to a mainstream community and not just to the converted,” she says. Barriers are shed at the fest, and you never know who’s straight and who’s gay. The fest begins with a fun game: If you are happy and you are gay, you clap your hands. If you are happy and you are straight, you stomp your feet. That’s when you get to know who’s who.

Qfest first anniversary
When: 1 PM – 10 PM
Where: 50-A, Huma Mansion, Chuim Village Road, Khar West
Call: 9619962969

3 PM: Q conversations
Chat about anything on your mind — from your neighbour’s pride necklace to the fear of letting your family know you are gay. QConver-sations opens up dialogue, breaks down taboos and encourages positive discussions.

5 PM: Qatha
Qatha celebrates the storytellers, by showcasing their films or performances, followed by an audience interaction. This time, meet filmmaker Pradipta Ray, who will screen three short films.

7.30 PM: Rainbow Mic
Navin Noronha hosts this open-mic with a difference. Get on stage with a song or a poem. Everyone is welcome.

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