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Indian Digital Media Supporting Country’s LGBT Community [A HELPING HAND]

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By Shreya Ramachandran:

Although the Delhi High Court ruling on 2nd July, 2009 that decriminalised private consensual sex between two homosexual individuals was a breakthrough for gay rights, homosexuality remains a skilfully avoided topic in India. Even in urban areas of the country, where so much Westernisation has taken place, homosexuals withhold information that they know will be met with discomfort at best – and ostracism at worst. “When I finally came to terms with my sexuality, I tried telling my cousin and a few of my close friends, but at first they didn’t believe me and later, they were clearly uncomfortable and asked me not to talk about it”, says Kanika Dutta, a student at Delhi University. “They preferred to avoid the topic.”

They  have little to no chance of expressing themselves in their daily life – to their peers, to their family or to their co-workers. They have virtually no platform to voice themselves. It often happens that they do not know where to turn for support, understanding or simply someone to listen.

This is where the Indian digital media comes into play.

Screenshot of the PinkPages website

Of late, there has been a surge of support groups, collective organisations and digital magazines to cater to India’s LGBT community and provide them with avenues for free conservation without any hindrances. Pink Pages, India’s largest and most successful LGBT digital magazine, has provided exactly such an avenue. “The idea behind Pink Pages was that I, along with my friends in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata thought we should provide a platform for the discussion of gay issues in mainstream media. It started off as a newsletter and became the first national magazine that gave a voice to the Indian LGBT community as a whole”, says Udayan, Editor-in-Chief.

QueerCampus logo

“There is a gap, and we aim to fill this gap”, says Anuradha of QueerCampus India, a student-run initiative to provide support to students who are exploring their sexuality. “While in recent years, young gay people have been looking for an informal group of gay friends, QueerCampus aims to facilitate such interactions – without the formal and intimidating procedures employed by NGOs and helplines. It is important that we, as a community, should have support to offer.” QueerCampus provides great support to the gays and bisexuals in their late teens and early twenties, who are still grappling with their sexuality.

Gaysi (Gay Desi) is a vibrant, welcoming website with a talented team of writers and an open outlook towards new contributions. “We, here at Gaysi Family, provide a forum for gaysis with something to say, whether it’s personal opinions, coming out stories, poems, event notices or anything at all that is related to being gaysi”, states the website. With a teeming spread of fiction, non-fiction, personal stories and reviews, it is an excellent collection of thoughts and feelings of the community.

Thanks to such help, people grappling with the confusing question of their sexuality have many bolsters to support them. These ventures have ensured that there is no longer a blockage of discussion. It is of note that the response to these ventures has been large – showing that the gay Indian was in great need of being reached out to.

“Even when Pink Pages was new, and had no celebrity endorsement, advertisements or PR campaigning, every issue that we came out with was downloaded by thousands of Indians. The response from the very beginning has been overwhelming. That was the vision we had in mind when starting Pink Pages – we wanted a nation-wide forum for the LGBT community of India”, Udayan relates. “We’ve had the entire spectrum of LGBTQ and non-queer identified people and we’ve had participation from people who work, or study in colleges in Delhi”, is what Anuradha has to share.

Things are improving for the gay Indian thanks to these ventures. It is a testament to the enterprising and helpful natures of all the individuals who started up the Internet forums for allowing scope for the thoughts and feelings of all the members of this community throughout the nation – and extending them a much-needed helping hand.

You must be to comment.
  1. deepak

    It is false that “Homosexuality” is a disease,crime or any fault ..
    It is an “OFFENSIVE TERM” for all the Human race. Some human beings “OH!! Sorry” homo beings just want to live the life according to them and also they wants that others also live like them. According to me, all human beings are in this human race for a great cause of helping others from his/her education and culture and not for fun.
    GREAT WORK Mr.GULAM NABI AZAD ,WE’RE WITH YOU. If you are also with him and India say or comment as..
    “…SHIT LGBT….”

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Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

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The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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