Pride Month parades cancelled? India’s LGBTQ+ communities have taken the celebrations online

For Patruni Sastry, drag has helped him faucet into part of himself that had been hidden for too lengthy. That is why he wished to create Drag Vanti, an online hub for India’s drag community that went stay on June 9.

For a few years, LGBTQ+ occasions have been internet hosting informative conversations by offline occasions, however with COVID-19 pandemic the group has shifted their occasions to online verticals. Drag Vanti is one in all these diversifications.

According to Patruni, it’s a channel to provide details about cultural and ethnic drag artwork kind practices inside India, with a give attention to how Indian drag is totally different from what the remainder of the world could infer. Drag Vanti additionally hosts a variety of interactive areas the place fellow drag queens can be part of and have discussions and debates. The platform has a listing of all drag performers, artists, make-up artistes, drag golf equipment and areas listed to encourage extra collaboration, curation, partnership and presentation inside the group.

Patruni Sastry in drag

A secure house?

However, Patruni has his considerations with the online house. “There’s always the safety issue when it’s an offline event. You know who is attending and that they are aware of the event itself. Online events tend to have uninvited guests. We always make sure the space is not one of judgement and enables human connection. We avoided online virtual spaces because we had this fear of not being safe. I did an Instagram Live the other day, and a viewer left a ridiculous comment. It did not affect me but the risk is there,” he says.

To assist the group handle the dangers of online harassment, The Queer Muslim Project is making the most of a digital Pride Month.

The Delhi-based organisation has partnered with Instagram for ‘Safe and Strong: An LGBTQIA+ guide to Facebook and Instagram’. The information outlines useful instruments corresponding to muting sure phrases, emojis, characters and customers, unfollowing haters or eradicating trolls, and even utilizing profanity filters.

Upcoming occasions with Kalki

  • ‘Coffee with Kalki’ is an Instagram Live collection during which Kalki (@kalkionline) will probably be chat with world activists and artistes from the US and The Netherlands. They will talk about the considerations of their group of their respective international locations. Some of the names embody activists like Celia Sandhya Daniels and Laura Sherwood.
  • An online session on success tales: Of Lynn Ann Conway, a profitable scientist, engineer and trangender activist based mostly in the US who works for IBM; Lana Wachowski, and Lilly Wachowski, the administrators, writers and producers of the vastly profitable The Matrix franchise; Shabnam ‘Mausi’ Bano, the first transgender MLA of the nation.

Says Rafiul Alom Rahman, founder, The Queer Muslim Project, “With most countries opting for partial or complete lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, many LGBTQIA+ youth now risk being in isolation within hostile environments with unsupportive family members or co-habitants, leading to a rise in mental health concerns, such as anxiety, emotional stress, and depression. In times like these, many from the LGBTQIA+ community have turned to social media for relevant information, safe spaces, and opportunities for creative self-expression and community building.”

The Queer Muslim Project has additionally linked up with British Council for Digital Pride Festival, which can characteristic digital theatre manufacturing No Spring Chicken by Theatre Jil Jil Ramamani on June 27, a global digital roundtable the subsequent day, movie screenings, musical performances and extra.

Media experimentation

Leveraging of expertise can assume an inventive kind too, as transgender activist and artiste Kalki Subramaniam, founding father of Tamil Nadu-based Sahodari Foundation, desires to showcase the expertise of those marginalised and “socially-bullied” communities.

She has lined up digital occasions, together with an online exhibition (hosted on She can even exhibit her assortment of pop artwork, cubism, digital work and fluorescent work together with different line drawings, acrylic, and charcoal work contributed by artists in India, USA and Europe. “Most of the works are expressions of gender, sexualities and then there are ones inspired by Nature. I specialise in portraits of humans and animals. I use cubism to express my gender identity and to portray my translife,” says Kalki.

Kalki painting in a forest

Kalki portray in a forest

Kalki’s digital assortment that she devoted to actor Sridevi is one in all the points of interest. “As a trans child I used to be in awe of her beauty, dance, sense of comedy, style and grace. I cannot ignore her in my paintings,” she says.

Sahodari embraced expertise method again in 2009, says Kalki. “We trained our community members to use video cameras to record their stories and put it out on YouTube. I started using whatsapp to teach English. Social media gives us power. It is a great platform for us to showcase talent in dance, music, art or acting. Many of our members tackle depression through social media by making entertaining videos.”

Instagram Story-fy your Pride

  • Instagram has partnered with GLAAD to establish distinguished, well-liked, and necessary hashtags used all through the LGBTQ+ group. When utilized in a submit, these hashtags will probably be displayed in a rainbow gradient. Some examples embody #LGBTQ, #BornPerfect, #EqualityMatters, #AccelerateAcceptance, or #Pride2020.When utilized in an Insta Story, the GLAAD-identified hashtags will flip your Story ring rainbow gradient whereas it’s stay.

During the online occasions, Kalki will speak about Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality as a instrument for activism, particularly these pushed by artwork. Sahodari Foundation already has a number of programmes structured round artwork. Transhearts is one in all them that conducts free artwork and crafts workshops. It permits transgender artists to precise themselves and promote their paintings. The Red Wall Project is a travelling exhibition that has been to Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the plan is to take it to the remainder of the nation too. “We interview trans-people and document their stories. The handwritten stories of violence and abuse are put up, accompanied by a red right-hand imprint of the person whose story is narrated; more than 600 trans people from across South India and also from West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have shared their stories,” she says. It is the lack of funding that’s coming in the method of implementing expertise into many such artwork tasks of Sahodari, rues Kalki.

Kalki desires to create one thing on the strains of Augmented Reality app Artivive, which “allows me to browse an art collection virtually and scan the QR code (that accompanies every art work),” she explains, “It is interactive, there is audio, video, and the artist pops up to take me on the journey to tell the story behind that artwork. It brings an emotional connection. It is not just about seeing and interpreting art, but going beyond and understanding the story of the artist.”

This is ‘protest art’, says Kalki, the place performing artists use Augmented Reality to precise their considerations about problems with social injustice be it the plight of the migrants or the discrimination in opposition to blacks. “We want to use technology to have our voices heard. Art is one of the ways of moving towards activism and community development.” She provides, “Once the COVID-19 situation is over, we will conduct sessions with social activists. We want to give hope in the difficult times and also to say that trans lives matter.”

Taking it to the telly

Musician and artiste Ma Faiza

Musician and artiste Ma Faiza  

Traditional media channels too have stepped up. Having kicked off on June 1, and now airing each Monday at eight pm, Vh1 Parade is a digital marketing campaign the place viewers can share their Pride avatars on a global platform.

One of the featured friends, Ma Faiza, shares her pleasure: “It is incredible to see the change in our visibility over the last year-and-a-half, and it’s so important that we shine brightly on the queer world map. We have an incredibly diverse creative community that deserves inclusivity and success,” she says, including, “Our unity and our success which hasn’t necessarily depended on just the queer community. Many of us are successful and accepted regardless of our sexual orientation or the labels that define us. Many of us unite many different cultures and communities within the queer spectrum and our expressions in our art reflects that.”

Maya the Drag Queen agrees. “I’m fairly excited that Vh1 and Kitty Su have collaborated and open to showcase extra tales from the Indian LGBTQIA group. This is a various vibrant group that wants a voice. It began with Kitty Su, when it gave drag performers a giant platform and made it a motion. Living in these unprecedented occasions, the group has been significantly affected and it is very important convey their voices to the fore. I’m glad that our voices are amplified and recognised by this marketing campaign.

Maya the Drag Queen

Maya the Drag Queen

Maya provides, “[The LGBTQ+ community] are artistes like any other and we want our voices to be heard — be it through music or stories. Our voices are powerful, our stories honest. I believe our stories can help others who are closeted to be brave and realise their talents or find a queer family. It also helps educate the masses about different forms of sexualities and the queer community. Also, India has a history of queer music that wasn’t mainstreamed at all. I hope, with this campaign, it will open more avenues.”

Driving a digital presence for Pride 2020 would additionally assist attain individuals outdoors metro cities who had lengthy been lacking out on attending offline occasions. Then there are the world occasions; based on European Pride Organisers Association, Pride organisations round the world have come collectively to organise a ‘Global Pride’ occasion on Saturday 27 June, in response to the 500-plus Pride celebrations — together with the much-anticipated Chandigarh Pride — that have been cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic. That stated, Ma Faiza, Maya the Drag Queen, Patruni, Rafiul and plenty of others in assist of the LGBTQ+ group are eager to develop their networks, get new conversations on the desk, and lend psychological and emotional assist in an already making an attempt time.

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