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Campus Violence Against LGBTQ – DU Students To March In Protest

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By Rafiul Alom Rahman:

In December 2014, a DU student was bashed up and dumped off a car by some students of the same university. The case went unreported due to concerns related to protecting the victim’s identity. This was a clear case of homophobic violence as the language used was ‘gandwe, gaand marwaata hai‘ (expletives to refer to the victim’s sexuality), ‘aaj tujhe sabak sikhaayenge‘ (we will teach you a lesson today). Filing an FIR meant disclosure of identity. Neither the University administration nor individual colleges have any institutional support structures for LGBTQ students, where an incident like this could be reported.


There have been several other instances where LGBTQ students have been subject to mockery, abuse and bullying because of their sexual or gender identities. Each time the cases go unreported because the University lacks primary grievance redressal mechanisms and the victims often do not wish to have their identities revealed. The absence of institutional support renders LGBTQ students vulnerable and paves the ground for campus violence.

Queer groups from DU, AUD, JNU, IIT-Delhi and others are coming together to resist the silencing of queer voices across campuses. The idea of the Zero Tolerance Campaign is to build inter-university alliances and push for institutional support for LGBTQ. Unlike JNU and AUD, DU having an open campus makes it difficult to reach out to individual colleges. The administration maintains a conspicuous indifference to LGBTQ issues. While the university had opened up admissions into its postgraduate courses for Transgender students last year, there is no institutional mechanism to address cases of violence – physical as well verbal – for gender non-conforming persons in the University. In terms of sexual harassment, Ordinance XV-D that was earlier in place and recognized a victim as ‘person‘ has now been replaced with The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013 that identifies a victim as ‘woman‘, thereby keeping LGBTQ outside the domain of gender justice.

Through this protest, we want to send the message – loud and clear – that violence against LGBTQ students won’t be tolerated and the University must immediately come up with measures to address complaints regarding bullying and harassment of students who do not conform to normative ideas of gender or sexuality. Please join the protest march on Friday (24th April), 10:30 AM, outside Arts Faculty main gate (North Campus). We will also stage ‘Pehchan‘, a street play on LGBTQ identities by Asmita Theatre.

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  1. Rationale

    The writer stresses on protecting victim’s identity and says the victim did not file an FIR because that meant disclosure of identity. I can not help but remember a previous incident a few years ago when the above writer ensured the identity of a male rape victim was revealed and reasoned that in the larger interest of public knowing the violence against LGBTQ, his act was justified. There was no concern about victim’s family knowing about his sexuality and chances of him getting thrown out of the house. Now this singing the new tune amazes me.

    The description of the writer above reads ‘I believe we all have vices in us and don’t advocate a puritanical way of life. Life is imperfect. I’m a non-conformist.’ Great! So let’s take a non-conformist non-puritanical example. A guy goes to a bunch of girls and makes comments about their bodies, how sexy they look and propositions to have sex with him. What does this amount to? It amounts to sexual harassment or even molestation under IPC. Now, what redressal mechanism does a bunch of straight men who are propositioned in this manner by a gay guy? Or in other words, does what the gay guy does is justified? Does the gay male’s right to express his sexual desires stop at where the other person’s sexual autonomy begins or does it extend further? Doesn’t a person have a rigth to rpivacy or does walking on the street means one need to be prepared for such propositions? The resort to violence in such situation is not something I would endorse. I condemn it. But the author has an ethical responsibility to state what happened and why a particular student was attacked. It’s way too easy to protray honour killing as a phenomenon in rural Haryana, Jatt men as epitome of violence and sexual harassment. But one need to understand the whole context to get a clearer picture. No Rafiul Alom Rahamn, you did not play the victim card correct this time. Better luck next time.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

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.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

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.

Read more about his campaign.

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.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

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.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

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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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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