From an online bookstore to publishing Out! Stories from the New Queer India, the first anthology of LGBT Literature in India after the 2009 Delhi High Court ruling on section 377, Queer Ink has come a long away. And now to strengthen their base a little more, they have launched two calendars — TQC 2013 Calendar and Man-i-Fest 2013 Calendar — as well as T-shirts under the brand name of Gaylaxy E-zine T-shirts.
“The Man-i-Fest 2013 Calendar was born out of a household of queer women talking about how fun it would be to dress in drag and take to the streets. This was at a time when photographer Indu Antony was already shooting a Drag Queen project, and she seemed doubtful about finding enough models willing to cross-dress as men. Everyone present in the house at the time volunteered immediately, and later with so many others from We’re Here And Queer (WhaQ) group wanting to participate, it seemed like we could actually even make a calendar out of it,” says Vidya, a member of the creative team.
On the other hand, Keith, who has worked on the TQC 2013 calendar, explains that the 14-pager is a celebration of the exquisiteness of the Indian male form. “The photographs join fashion to seduction, forthrightness to intimacy, masculinity to sensuality,” he says.
Throwing light on their T-shirts, Sukhdeep, who is part of this initiative, reveals that The Gaylaxy T-shirts celebrate sexuality in society that has always tried to suppress the very mention of alternate sexuality. “These T-shirts help you make a statement about yourself; that you are proud of your sexuality and there is nothing wrong with that. In a way, it also helps you spread knowledge about alternate sexuality. When you wear it, you are making both a political and a personal statement,” he believes. Their intent was to produce something and cater to the needs of the LGBT population of India, who are increasingly leaving the closet. At present, all of the T-shirts regarding sexuality or partners (in the general market) essentially caters to heterosexual.
(These spokespersons prefer to be known by their first names.)