Swipe right for queer connections

Updated: 27 October, 2020 08:51 IST | P Vatsalya | Mumbai

A new archival project between a dating app and queer group is documenting the tumultuous love lives of desi LGBTQIA+ people

Winnie (left) and her girlfriend
Winnie (left) and her girlfriend

The Museum of Queer Swipe Stories looks just as fantastical as it sounds. It is a trailblazing project that seeks to archive the many moods, experiences and complexities of queer dating. Gaysi Family and Tinder have come together to archive stories of queer love, heartbreaks, friendships and other memorable experiences. It's an Instagram page, but it is set to be released as an e-zine, so you can scroll and read, as you please.

Take the tale of how Winnie met her girlfriend, which sounds like a modern-day love story. They met on an app and one thing led to another. They discovered a common interest and there was some cheeky flirting involved. Winnie says the following, in the Museum of Queer Swipe Stories, about the first date: "I matched with her on Tinder and within minutes she messaged me saying, 'We have a conflict of interest; I'm a Manchester United fan.' Being an Arsenal fan, I found her opening statement very amusing and immediately thought, 'She knows her football!' We kept talking, and she mentioned that she had very little experience with women. I cockily told her that I'm a veteran lesbian and will show her the ropes."

Rahul's painted nail
Rahul's painted nail

Sakshi Juneja, founder of Gaysi Family, explains, "Queer folks have rarely had a chance to engage in the popular idea of dating, friendship and romance. Archiving these experiences is an important task—one that may lead to a better understanding of love, and how universal the experience of meeting someone new for the first time is." Juneja hopes that by archiving stories that revolve around queer connections, a space will be created for queer Indians, from across different spectrums, to find stories that resonate with them.

Agreeing with Juneja, Taru Kapoor of Tinder India, says, "With greater visibility of narratives from outside the binary, there is also greater acceptance. For some people, gender and sexuality labels reflect their personal assertion of identity, and as identities evolve, the stories we tell should include everyone."

Jasyot Singh Hans (left) and boyfriend Parvir
Jasyot Singh Hans (left) and boyfriend Parvir Singh Sohal

Rahul, a subject featured in the Museum of Queer Swipe Stories would agree, "I was taken aback by his painted nails—I'd attempted to paint mine an hour before, but fearing public scrutiny, taken it off. His air of nonchalance was awe-inspiring. He looked pretty as a picture," gushes Rahul, about a date he finally met for coffee after four long years of pining for him.

Sakshi Juneja and Taru Kapoor
Sakshi Juneja and Taru Kapoor

What: Museum of Queer Swipe Stories
Where: @queerswipestories, Instagram

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First Published: 11 October, 2020 07:53 IST

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