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A book on the LGBT seminar, the first of its kind, gives an interesting insight into this community

For the first time ever in 2012, a seminar was held on Gay Literatures: The Indian Projections in Shimla. The objective of the seminar organised by the Indian Institute of Advanced Study was to interrogate the cultural, social, theological, moral, ethical, psychological and philosophical issues related to the LGBT community as projected in Indian arts, literature and through other channels. Professor of English Sukbir Singh from Hyderabad was to steer the conference, but he says he almost found himself at sea. “I never got the chance to discuss these issues with anyone. So, it wasn’t easy,” Sukhbir says. But post the conference, Sukhbir Singh compiled the best 16 papers into a book titled Gay Subculture and literature, The Indian Projection .

“Besides knowing what the LGBT community is, I never came across anyone personally. Or even if I did, our discussions never touched on sexual preference or the problems they faced in society,” says professor Sukhbir.

Sukhbir invited possible participants both writers and speakers to present papers on the following and other proximal issues concerned with the LGBT Seminar on ‘Gay Sub-Cultures and Literatures: The Indian Projections.’

“Homosexuality as a cultural phenomenon is not new. Sappho, a Greek poet and teacher of arts, who lived between 630 and 612 BC in the Greek city state of Lesbos, was known for her preference for women and had affairs with several of her female protégés at her Centre for Arts. Yet she was highly respected, both for her artistic sensibility and her poetry, which contained references to lesbian love. Plato extolled her as the tenth muse and the coins of her times were embossed with her image,” thus went Sukhbir’s concept note for the seminar.

I was surprised at how society reacted to LGBT community and transgender

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