The second day of the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia celebration and the first anniversary fete of Queerythm here on Sunday saw a series on Q-Talks, loosely modelled on the TED Talks, by members of the queer community on various aspects of their lives.
These included problems they faced in personal and familial lives and in society, and ways they overcame these without suppressing their identity.
Syam Kumar, working in the State’s queer movement for the past 20 years, in his talk on ‘Role of family in LGBTIQ coming outs’ said if anyone wanted to come out, it would be a good idea to not spring the news on parents and family members, but rather make them aware of the queer community and bring them around to the idea.
But in case, parents did not take the news well, a parallel family of community members could be considered.
In his talk on ‘Queer inclusive campus,’ Praveen Nath, who was forced to stop his college education midway after he came out, spoke about the support from his friends because of increased awareness of LGBTIQ issues, but the reluctance of college teachers and staff to accept him. Very often, they recommended counselling to ‘solve’ his problem, he said. The environment in most colleges in the State was not conducive to coming out, Praveen said.
Maya Krishnan, lawyer, who spoke on ‘Transphobia and violence’ said fear of hatred of the community was often caused by lack of understanding or harbouring misconceptions about them. She illustrated with examples how the community members were denied opportunity to voice their grievances by authorities such as the police, and were disbelieved and blamed for many an issue.
They encountered transphobia in hospitals, or when looking for accommodation or jobs.
The impression of society was all of them were sex workers, she said.
Ashok Row Kavi, chairperson of the Mumbai-based The Humsafar Trust and LGBTIQ rights activist, speaking on ‘Queer families’ said besides biological support system, others too existed in the country.
Humsafar had tried to emulate the ‘Molly culture’ model of an older person helping the younger in many ways.
It had also come across systems such as the hijra community.
The concept of queer family was expanding, and that was the way to go as it helped in passing on of values and traditions though there was some exploitation too.
Community mobilisation was important, he said.
Among the other programmes lined up were a LGBTIQ fashion and performance event titled ‘Neev’ and presentation of the Queer Persona and Media awards.