Queer Spaces Mumbai

Gaysi’s latest zine turns horrors faced by queer people into art

A fresh perspective: Normal does not imitate horror stories coming out of the West, but marries Indian folklore and society with desi queer stories.

A fresh perspective: Normal does not imitate horror stories coming out of the West, but marries Indian folklore and society with desi queer stories.  

Featuring 18 stories from home-grown writers, the book looks at fear through LGBTQAI+ perspective

Queer people encounter moments of horror on a regular basis, whether it is violent discrimination or casual prejudices. Gaysi, an online platform chronicling the stories of the LGBTQAI+ community, has transformed these instances into art in their latest zine, titled Normal.

The crowd-funded online magazine features 18 horror stories, which were selected from submissions. Rashmi Ruth Devadasan’s The Legend of Rani Grace, is an original love story inspired by traditional folklore; Joshua Muyiwa’s Wrist Action is an urban slasher set in the busy streets of Bengaluru; Aniruddha Mahale’s For Your Eyes Only explores the horrors of living in the closet; Anshumaan Sathe, Tora and Alafiya Hasan’s illustrations depict issues of gender, identity, violence, homophobia, and the ghosts on dating apps; and Pooja Krishnakumar’s Kiss Me Again and Shruti Bhiwandiwala’s The Spiral push the boundaries of visual narratives.

Normal marries Indian folklore and society with desi queer stories.

Normal marries Indian folklore and society with desi queer stories.  

Monsters in the closet

“Horror as a genre is believed to have come into existence as a way to talk about queerness. So, many of the characters featured in horror stories are monsters, demons, outcasts, the other…epithets that even today, tragically, are used to refer to queer persons,” says Niyati Joshi, the editor of Normal. “By owning the genre, using it to tell honest stories, we are amplifying queer voices.”

The previous edition had explored queer mythology and desire. For the current edition, Gaysi, led by its founder, Sakshi Juneja, tapped into their long-standing desire to explore horror as a theme. “While the genre of queer horror has been well explored internationally, one will hardly find good examples of queer horror in India,” says Ms. Joshi.

With Normal, Ms. Joshi wanted the edition to remain accessible. “We deliberately selected stories that weren’t overtly scary because we wanted these stories to remain with the reader long after they have put the zine down instead of giving them a momentary jolt, as is the case with most mainstream horror,” says Ms. Joshi.

Terming it as ‘queer literature’, Ms. Joshi says Normal does not imitate horror stories coming out of the West. She says that the literary product marries Indian folklore and society with desi queer stories.

Normal is available on www.instamojo.com/gaysifamily for ₹500

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 1:31:02 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/gaysis-latest-zine-turns-horrors-faced-by-queer-people-into-art/article29836322.ece

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