This year was a game changer for the city’s LGBTQ community. We saw it grow, get accepted, become one of the biggest themes in varsity fashion and what not! Students openly spoke and marched in support of the community. We spoke to the Capital’s youngsters about the top events that brought the community in focus.
DU’s filmy connect
Agaaz, a collaborative effort of The Gender Fora and Women’s Development Cells of six North Campus colleges, was a week long film festival, in which the films Aligarh, Carol and Fandry were screened. Anjali Chauhan, senior coordinator of Parivartan, the gender forum of Kirori Mal College says, “The screenings were followed by a rich discussion on issues ranging from moral policing around sexuality, lesbianism and prostitution to incest.”
In the run up to the Transgender Awareness Week, Ramjas College organised an LGBTQ pride parade and a fashion show lead by transgenders. Rashi Khera, a student, says, “The message of our event was that every individual has the right to be themselves. We received an overwhelming response with 2,100 people turning up.”
‘Queerness in everyday life’, a poetry session also had prominent LGBT activists Gautam Bhan, Vikramaditya Sahai and more in attendance. Utpal Gore from Astitva, the gender forum of Ramjas College says, “The poems were about how everyone ‘queers’ up some space every day without identifying it as such. The response was amazing, many identified with the poems.”
Delhi’s Pride Support
This year’s Queer Pride Parade in the Capital was a united call for equality of gender and sexuality that sought “a life without fear” for all. A student of St. Stephen’s college says, “I have been to the parade twice. It is liberating to walk on familiar roads with a community that feels one’s own. There were people at the fringes of the parade, who were staring at us and mocking us. But it felt so good to walk right past them, chanting slogans in their faces and being proud of our identity.” IIT Delhi, too, had its own queer pride parade for the first time this year.
A support app for the community
A 19-year-old DU student, who wishes to stay anonymous, is developing an app for the LGBTQ community. “Our app will provide logistical support to LGBT people who want to start afresh and organise themselves in a support group. It should be out by January, and will also have an SOS button,” he says.
Taking on the stage
The second edition of the two-day festival Delhi International Queer Theatre and Film Festival (DIQTFF) witnessed many acclaimed queer movies and plays such as ‘That’s my boy’, ‘In the Mood for Love’ and ‘Pehchan’ as well as a photo exhibition and health awareness booths.
Avali Khare, from KMC says, “As a gay woman, the worst form of discrimination I have felt is the way my sexuality is ignored or simply talked over, sometimes even in the most ‘progressive’ circles. The identity as a lesbian student is limiting in the sense that most people don’t take you seriously.”
“We need to further our campus initiatives and expand our target audience outside DU. My college doesn’t even have a gender forum. Also, incorporating a gender-based curriculum would benefit us much more,” says Sharin D’souza, a student from Jesus and Mary College.