This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Ruth Chawngthu. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

India Celebrates Queer Pride Month With A Series Of Hate Crimes

More from Ruth Chawngthu

On the night of June 6, the Delhi police physically assaulted and verbally harassed a gay man in Delhi’s Hauz Khas Village. His crime? He was hugging a friend who happened to be trans. The victim and his friends were subjected to various homophobic, transphobic, and racial abuses. One of his friends, a South Indian was called a “Nigerian hooker who must be thrown out”; another friend, a trans woman, was referred to as an “escort”, and the victim was called a “chakka”.

The victim who got slapped and lathi-charged then started taking pictures of the police jeep but the police quickly snatched his phone away, called him and his friends a public nuisance and then proceeded to detain them, only releasing them after his friend’s father came and signed an undertaking that forced the victim to delete the pictures and barred him from filing any complaints further. However, he shared the encounter with his friends who then circulated this experience of police misconduct through social media. As of now, the Delhi police have not yet responded despite the victim’s friends tagging them and requesting an explanation.

Via @MADOO26 on Twitter

This isn’t the only hate crime the country witnessed surrounding Pride month. On May 29 in Delhi at about 2 am, a cross-dresser dressed as Goddess Kali was stabbed multiple times and murdered in cold blood by a group of men, one of the suspects being a Delhi University student. On May 26 in Hyderabad, a group of trans women were attacked by a mob who believed they were a group of child kidnappers following a fake WhatsApp forward. One of the women succumbed to her injuries shortly after.

On May 28, three trans women were beaten up brutally in Mumbai by MNS workers who accused them of practising prostitution. On June 4 in Kerala, in a case that shows that the Indian judiciary too has little respect for the right to privacy of queer people, the High Court ordered a psychological and medical examination of a 25-year-old trans woman after her mother moved a petition saying her “son” is brainwashed by a “transgender gang”.

It is alarming to see such high rate of hate crimes and discriminations being committed against queer people especially when it is supposed to be a month of celebrating acceptance, love, and liberation. We cannot celebrate Pride if we still live in prejudice. Perhaps the Indian queer community needs to be reminded about the radical origins of the movement. Our country is suffering from a colonial hangover as the validity of draconian laws like Section 377 continue to be debated as if the law doesn’t exist solely to violate the basic human rights of queer people.

Picture Courtesy: Nazariya LGBT

Our political parties, even the seemingly liberal ones have no sincere concern for the community. Parties like AAP promised LGBT reforms but failed to include these reforms in its manifesto and the Congress Party has conveniently just woken up in light of the recent petitions against Section 377 after they’ve consistently flip-flopped on the issue over the years. Who then has our back? Our identity is seen as an invitation for violence while the movement remains scattered and riddled with internal politics when it comes to demanding justice and rights. For many of us, therefore, the families we’ve created out of our shared experiences with oppression continue to serve as our primary support system and sole source of security.

Image Credit: Damini Mehta
You must be to comment.
  1. Dareen Hannash

    It’s very disheartening to know that India as a democratic republic still hasn’t granted the LGBT community the freedom they deserve. The government is letting religious causes obscure their administration. For once, people must see that it isn’t ‘us’ against ‘them’; it’s us against humanity. It must be remembered that the moment we choose to discriminate others on the basis of our differences is the moment when we forget what it truly means to be human.

    As always, I hope that altruism shall prevail and the basic rights shall be restored. Let it be for today and let it be forever. The BJP may not have a united stance on Section 377. However, we as the citizens must come forward and show dissent in a peaceful manner against this draconian law. Legal sanction along with social awareness is the first step to liberation. And the wheels of fate will someday compel the government to uphold the sacrosanct human rights enshrined in the Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Till then, stay strong and don’t give up.

More from Ruth Chawngthu

Similar Posts

By Aqsa Shaikh

By Juhi Smita

By Punita Maheshwari

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

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.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below