After a decade of being a passive ally and four years of being an active LGBTQIA+ activist, there was one pattern I couldn’t ignore when it came to queer events. They were majorly, the same people, having the same conversation, in the same manner, within themselves over and over again.
As important as it is that LGBTQIA+ folk have a safe space to create, share, and celebrate, it constantly made me feel like some people were missing out.
In almost every queer event that I attended, the conversations were lovely, issues raised very valid, and the jokes shared rather candid. The LGBT+ folk and non-LGBT+ allies that typically came together at these events were already relatively woke, liberal, open-minded and generally quite onboard the LGBT+ cause.
But, where were the ‘others’?
The others who genuinely didn’t understand why LGBT-rights are key in today’s world? The others who don’t understand gender from sex from orientation? The others who can’t see a lesbian woman as a person first and her orientation later? The others who had never been exposed to the colourful world of diversity? Where were these others who were on the fence and felt they simply didn’t have access to the community?
Many lay people that I met over the last few years had such a fear of judgment from the woke crowd that they simply didn’t want to turn up to any of these events and say something stupid. They didn’t want to be present at events where it is *assumed* that everyone can throw around all the terms and concepts and nuances with regards to SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) with ease. In these spaces, the cis-het people become the minority and the ‘other’. How does anything change then?
On the other hand, the burden of bringing people on-board the cause shouldn’t all lie on queer folk or allies. To expect LGBT+ folk to struggle with all the bigotry that our society offers and then still gleefully put themselves in a vulnerable position to educate others is unfair. So how do things change? How do we encourage and accelerate reform? How do we help non-allies gain perspective and give them a fair chance to see the community up-close and decide?
What we need are spaces where both the sides are enthusiastic about blurring this invisible divide that exists. A space where making mistakes is allowed. A space where asking questions is encouraged. A space where being vulnerable doesn’t feel unsafe. A space to share a personal story for a larger cause.
This is how the LGBT+ people library was conceptualized and is happening on April 15, 2018, in Nehru Place, New Delhi. It’s a space where the storytellers that have come on-board, want to share their lived experience with others who don’t understand it already. A space where listeners who are genuinely curious to understand will come and interact with an intention to listen and learn. There will be multiple exercises to break the ice, break stereotypes, encourage reflection and then finally have a heart to heart with our lovely and rather diverse storytellers from all different identities.
There’s going to be a small stand-up act and loads of food and games too. What’s an LGBT event without celebration, amirite?! 🙂
To register and get more details, please click here.