By Anshul Tewari:
The Gaysi Zine – Issue 3
Gaysi Media Pvt Limited
From the comforting cover, showing a tea stall representing the coming together of a community and a sense of familiarity, to the fanciful mixture of hand-written stories and visuals that take you on short yet compelling journeys, ‘The Gaysi Zine’ breaks the mould. In times of the regressive Section 377, moral policing, and the war against free love – I found a much needed ‘queer’ space in the third edition of the annual print magazine of gaysifamily.com, a blog to provide a voice and a safe space to desis (people from the South Asian Subcontinent) who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer.
If you’ve followed the fight for queer rights in a post-377 world, you’ve seen the urban, middle class face of the Indian queer youth. ‘I don’t want to sleep alone’, a photo-story by Akshay Mahajan, breaks this imagery and goes deeper into the lives of the transgender youth on the fringes of the city. This photo-story punctures your perceptions of love, silence, and the fight for freedom.
‘Rosabel – Musings of a lesbian mother’ walks you through the beautiful uniting of a lesbian mother, her partner and their daughter, Rosabel, in a post-377 India. Rosabel, who fled from the Persian Gulf after living through years of misery with her father, finds her way through to live a life of togetherness with her ‘Mama’ and ‘Mamasita’, her lesbian mothers, from the gulf, to the US, and then to India.
Sharmistha Ray’s ‘States of Arousal’ series of erotic paintings might just challenge the ‘moral grounds’ of the belligerent, patriarchal and heteronormative Hindu right in the country, but makes for some of the most realistic art of female nudes to “flesh out a narrative of carnal pleasure”.
Not only do the short and crisp stories and narratives make you see the world through the eyes of the authors, they challenge the monotony of the mainstream queer conversation, or the lack of thereof.
The Gaysi Zine is not your ‘regular’ zine. It is about people who identify as queer and those who don’t wish to have an identity that defines them as per the social constructs handed over to us. Pick it up because it is a statement in favour of love, freedom and art – the striking mixture of which is what makes it a great read. The Zine is about you and me.
To know more about what I think of this story, follow me on twitter at @anshul_tewari