This past year at Cake has been an exciting one. We rang in the new year by solemnly swearing to get up to some feminist good, with some of the most important literature on gender and sexuality. Soon after we took a trip down memory lane with the most progressive shows from the ‘90s, and before we knew it, we had already had our very first Twitter chat, and were ushering in Pride month with a set of special stories.
And in the many moments in between we tried bringing stories that made you laugh, made you think, and made you want to stick it to the cisheteropatriarchy. And here they are!
SPOILER ALERT “What else do you want me to do to make you love me?” says protagonist Ayan (Ranbir Kapoor) at one point in Karan Johar’s latest film, “Ae Dil Hai Mushkil”. The words are directed at the female protagonist Alizeh (Anushka Sharma), who has (by then) constantly rejected his multiple romantic advances, and made it abundantly clear that she only sees him as a friend.
Two years ago the Supreme Court of India’s NALSA verdict laid out a charter of possibilities for the rights of the transgender community – a community which has been ostracized for centuries.
Shuffling through supermarket aisles, with a pink backpack slung over one shoulder, Nadia Ali looks like your average girl-next-door. You’d never suspect the young woman picking out groceries has been banned from Pakistan for performing ‘adult scenes’ in Islamic wear.
I was all decked up and ready to go. It was the first time that I was going to attend an event organised in the name of Queer Pride. Sure, it was a talent show, not a march, but I was happy nevertheless.
In a moment that was as upsetting as it was unsurprising, the host of Telugu talk show ” Bathuku Jataka Bandi” harassed two of her guests on air, simply because they were a queer couple. The episode was released on on October 31, and revolved around shaming a 20-year-old woman and a 23-year-old trans man who said they wanted to marry each other.
Oh Internet, how we love you and despair! A quick scroll through your Facebook timeline in the morning can set off the widest range of emotions – there’s cat gifs to melt your heart and outrageous news clips.
While I was doing my undergrad in Bengaluru – India’s Silicon Valley – I would be the go-to person for all things gender, sexuality, sex, masturbation, orgasms, lubrication and so on and so forth.
It’s the month of November. The month where people show solidarity with the ones who are suffering from cancer by foregoing shaving and grooming. The money that they save in the process is donated to spread awareness about the disease in what is popularly called as No Shave November.
” I don’t think [Quantico is] a bra-burning feminist show where you’re like, we hate men, but we have really strong male characters, too,” said Priyanka Chopra in an interview last year. She is one of India’s leading pop culture icons who has countless young women looking up to her, and here she was, publicly dissociating herself from feminism despite stating that she believes in female empowerment.
Kerala is poised to challenge negative attitudes about transgender people in yet another way by including them in the workforce for the Kochi Metro Rail. This news comes only a few months after ‘ G-Taxi ‘ was announced in the same state, which aims to make social entrepreneurs of trans women involved in the programme.
Oh, and we had some fun conversations over tea and cake (interviews!) with these really awesome people too!
Some of the best loved films about LGBTQ people have had terrible endings. You had an assassination in ‘ Milk,’ and a devastating break up in ‘ Blue is the Warmest Colour.’ Who could forget how tinged-with-sorrow ‘ Brokeback Mountain’ was? And did we mention the ‘ bury-your-gays’ trope in most mainstream media?
Popularly known as India’s first transgender television talk show host, Rose Venkatesan has been a public voice for trans issues in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu since 2008. Called the local Oprah Winfrey at the time by the New York Times, Rose’s shows aired in 2008 and 2009.
In February this year, Gaysi Family and the Patchwork Ensemble put together a unique, first-of-its-kind show. Called ‘ Tape – The King of Drag,’ the 75-minute long piece starred performers Puja Swarup and Sheena Khalid as Shammi Kapoor and Justin Timberlake, questioning clothing, masculinity, and gender performativity.
Ever read a comic and thought that the female characters weren’t diverse enough? Meet Miss Moti, the comic-strip protagonist who’s South Asian, plus-sized, and unabashedly proud of her body and of herself.
The gender binary is oppressive. There’s more or less some consensus on this among people who have observed the ways in which nearly all of humanity has been split down the middle, with women on one side, and men on the other.
As we inch towards 2017 with hope, anxiety, desire and determination, we remember the hard won battles, the many discussions and debates. Our ideas about gender, sex and sexuality are constantly evolving, and we’re constantly trying to do better. So with that thought, here’s to the year we leave behind, and the one that’s in store!