Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) or queer communities
in India have long had a love-hate relationship with the media. The anguish at
not being written about accurately and sensitively, the sense of being let down
at the queer diversity not being represented adequately, is often coupled with
the appreciation that the media has indeed helped in mobilizing queer
communities and advocating their concerns with the public at large and the
powers that be.
People, May '14 By Pawan Dhall and Sukanya Roy Ghose Varta brings you the ‘Queer Kolkata Oral History Project’, an initiative to document five decades of queer lives in Kolkata (1960-2000). Our aim in this project is to go back in time and bring forward diverse queer voices through a series of interviews, which will provide a landmark to Kolkata city's queer history. Typically, the focus will be on the queer scenario in Kolkata during the growing up years of each interviewee – how it was to be queer in Kolkata in different decades since the 1960s till more recent times. The effort will be to bring forward a mix of the well known and the lesser known voices. Apart from the excerpts published here, the project also aims to publish a collection of the interviews in different formats. All interviews are based on informed consent and where requested, all markers of identity have been removed for reasons of confidentiality. In this issue we bring you the second and final part of an
interview with Pia and Kiki, both in their late 40s, who live together in
Kolkata. Pia is a community volunteer and writer, while Kiki is associated with
the education sector. In the first part of the interview (published in the April 2014 issue of Varta),
they talked about the journeys which brought them together. In this part, they
speak about the challenges of living out a same-sex relationship and their
hopes of a better future for queer people.
The interview was conducted by Pawan Dhall on May 10, 2013,
and transcribed by freelancer Sukanya Roy Ghose.
From the Archives, May '14 Sayan Bhattacharya delves into the Counsel Club
archives and discovers a transgressive world of desire at a time when queer
visibility in India was still in a nascent stage. These series of articles
intend to create an archive of the queer movement in Bengal and India – not a
chronological narrative of the movement, rather anecdotal histories capturing
the little voices that are often lost in general historical accounts –
voices from thousands of letters received by Counsel Club, one of India’s
earliest queer support groups (1993 to 2002), and from the group’s house journal Naya
Pravartak. It was a few months back, just after a Supreme Court verdict
recriminalized ‘carnal intercourse against the order of nature’ (under Section
377 of the Indian Penal Code), that a friend introduced me to a unit member of the
Satyamev Jayate TV programme, the second season of which is currently on air.
Aamir Khan is of course back as the Indian Oprah Winfrey. I was told that they
would dedicate one episode to non-normative sexualities. So they would need
interviews. I introduced him to two of my transgender friends. This
person also asked me whether I could speak on camera. However, his next
question was whether I have a partner. I was immediately disqualified. My
transgender friends were disqualified too!
By Dr. Tirthankar Guha Thakurta Remember the good old days of summer vacations? It was all
fun except the holiday homework. With the earth warming up every day, summer
holidays have become more of a necessity than fun.
Advice - Rights and Laws, May '14 By Kaushik Gupta Reader queries My age is 23 years old and my partner is 22 years old. I
want to spend my life with my partner. But I can’t see the way forward. If our
families don’t support us, what should I do so that I can live with my partner
and not face any problem? Please help me.