What's new in 2012: Queer life

Jan 01, 2012, 09:37 IST | Dhamini Ratnam

It was a year when initiatives were started, and integration into the mainstream became the call of the hour.

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It started in 2011

It was a year when initiatives were started, and integration into the mainstream became the call of the hour. With more people (not just activists) supporting the queer cause, for the first time last year, the Pride was a week-long celebration in the city. 

Book readings, pop up stores, speak-easy events, dances, and play performances culminated in the Queer Azadi march. Another interesting development was the rise of the 'out' queer entrepreneur, catering to both, straight and queer customers. While commerce played leveller, discussions about legal rights for the LGBTQ community gained prominence once more. 

The reading down of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalised homosexuality paved the way for parents and families to speak up on behalf of their queer children. 

Chitra Palekar, one of the parents, who has signed a petition against the appeals against the reading down of Section 377, initiated an email helpline and encouraged parents of queers to form a support group. 
In November, the World Bank offered funds for New Delhi-based research organisation Amaltas and Mumbai-based sexual health organisation Humsafar Trust, to hold consultations within the community's lawyers, activists and law-makers to chart out a legal roadmap for queer groups in India. 

This formed part of a growing discussion on the rights and privileges that queer people in the country are denied. Last month, a group of Wilson college students chose an interesting topic for their final year media project: the silence imposed by society on queer persons. They organised a PFLAG event -- for parents and families of lesbian and gay persons. In December too, the Humsafar Trust, and Shobhna Kumar of Queer Ink opened a resource centre for lesbian, bi-sexual, transgender women in the suburbs. 

However, even as gay parties became de rigeur, arbitrary crackdown by authorities continue. Harassment at workplaces, and homophobia in families remain a matter of concern.  

Big hit in 2012: Queer visibility
The LGBT community will be a lot more visible. We'll see more individuals, rather than organisations, take  initiative. This is happening with the (January 28) Pride arrangements, where a lot of young LGBT people are at the helm. In the 18 years that I've been an activist, I've never seen the kind of comfort that today's youth possess about their sexuality. And of course, we hope the Supreme Court passes a verdict this year that will uphold the Delhi High Court ruling on Section 377. 
  � Vivek Anand, CEO, Humsafar Trust

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