Aristotle once said, “The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance,” and that is exactly what young voices from the LGBTQ+ community are doing. Queer artists are using art as a voice to explore and talk about what it is like to be them in a restrictive society such as ours, and bring to light a lot of nuances that are ignored.
Scarred by Riddhika Jain
Riddhika Jain, a 19-year-old self-published author, released her book, Scarred, in 2021. With three sapphic novellas, namely Detention, Scarred, and a new one that she is currently working on, titled Life Isn’t All Rainbows & Unicorns, Jain writes about coming to terms with one’s sexuality, social issues like domestic violence, marital rape, mental health, women empowerment, and issues faced by the LGBT+ community. Life Isn’t All Rainbows & Unicorns is a sequel to Scarred.
21-year-old Diego Miranda founded Bambai Nazariya, a café in Andheri, Mumbai, in an attempt to create a safe space for the transgender community. Miranda has employed people from the community to work in the café, and in a Midday interview he stated that they are trained to manage the front end as well as the kitchen, where a chef comes in weekly to help them sharpen their culinary skills. Savour some lemonade, read a book, and catch up with the inspirational staff that make this beautiful place.
His Instagram bio says he is a disco dancer, and his music proves that too. Taking the musical route, artist Finsta is representing the community through his songs. He recently released a new album about drag queens, same-sex relationships, and exploring more aspects of sexuality. The new album, JIMMY VOGUE, features songs like “God Is A Drag Queen,” “Meetha,” “Meethaboy / Cuntygirl,” to name a few.
The Other Man by Farhad J. Dadyburjor
Author Farhad J. Dadyburjor has been an entertainment journalist for over 20 years. His new book, The Other Man, explore gay romance in a manner that leaves you thinking about the importance of being free, and letting people live the way they’d like. The story revolves around an Indian man finding love in another man. The protagonist, who is all set to marry a girl, comes to terms with the fact that he is gay, while falling in love with a foreigner who is on a quick work trip to India. Twists and turns leap out at you and this is a book for the keeps.
Aravani Art Project
The Aravani Art Project is a trans and cis women-led art collective that aims at bringing about change in the way the society views the LGBTQIA+ community by helping in creating safe spaces for alternate voices through art. They create different art projects to talk about problems that the community faces, including topics like everyday discrimination, stigma, and systemic inequality. From creating artwork to collaborating to teaching people from the community different skills, this team does everything they can to increase trans visibility and integrate the community into the society.
India has its own LGBTQ+ streaming service. The brainchild of Paul Colichman’s Here Media and US- based Jungo TV, PlanetOut was launched last year. It is a streaming service currently available in India on MX Player and the Jungo Plus app. Among the films available on PlanetOut are titles like Gods and Monsters, cooking show Food Fetish, and documentaries like the Emmy-nominated A Long Road to Freedom: The Advocate Celebrates 50 Years, narrated by Laverne Cox. The free service features exclusive LGBTQ+ content, in addition to original movies and series.
The Chinky Homo Project
Launched by Kumam Davidson from Moirang Manipur and Pavel Sagolsem from Delhi, The Chinky Homo Project is a voice that has created a momentous ripple in the sea of personal narratives. The of individuals ensures that the Northeastern Queer community is given a platform to express themselves. Blogs, cinema, music, painting, photography, The Chinky Homo Project aims to create a space for the underrepresented people of Northeast India, and voice their struggles.
The Queer Muslim Project
Rafiul Alom Rahman founded The Queer Muslim Project to start a conversation around gender, sexuality, and faith, in Islam. The platform uses the art of storytelling on social media platforms to spread the word about LGBTQ rights, the coexistence of sexual orientation and religion, battling stereotypes, and giving queer Muslims a space to share their stories.