Follow these voices in the LGBTQIA+ spaces to understand the community better

As we approach the second anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality on September 6, 2018, we put together a list of emerging voices in the LGBTQIA+ spaces. Follow their work, to understand the community better

September 01, 2020 01:21 pm | Updated January 21, 2023 08:13 pm IST

Kalki Subramaniam

Kalki Subramaniam

Kalki Subramaniam

Artist, Coimbatore

Identifies as she/her

Follow for : Empowering art by transgender women and men

For transgender rights activist, artist, and poet Kalki Subramanium art started as an escape from bullying in school. “I was barely 12 and tired of the name calling. I used to bunk classes and go to parks or the nearby forest. I don’t know why, but I started drawing everything, especially images of the woman that I wanted to be. Art gave me the courage to embrace my gender identity,” she says.

Kalki’s works are vibrant. “Those colours express my joy. I am also a person who likes attention and my works are an extension of this self,” she adds. Today, she runs the Sahodari Foundation that is aimed at empowering people in the community through art.

She is now working on digitalising her project called the Red Wall that features handwritten stories of sexual abuse faced by 500 transgender people from the country. “The testimonials will be up on the social media pages of Sahodari Foundation from September 1. I am also planning a virtual art exhibition soon,” she adds.

Instagram: @kalkionline


Facebook: @sahodari

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh

Sukhdeep Singh

Editor, 31, Kolkata

Identifies as he/him

Follow for: News updates on issues affecting the LGBTQ community

Gaylaxy , an online portal for LGBTQ news from India and around the world, also features people’s personal experiences in blog style, relationship and sexual health advice, and reviews of fiction and non-fiction centred around queer themes. A Hindi section since 2014 has further strengthened its roots in the community. The man at the helm is Kolkata-based Sukhdeep Singh.

A decade since its inception, some central experiences have still not changed. Says Sukhdeep, “People still write in to us with stories of rejection, abuse, bullying, and forced attempts at marriage.” Yet unlike 10 years ago, he adds, “There are so many pride events, marches, and film festivals today that it is becoming impossible for us to cover all.” A lot of the conversation before 2018 revolved around decriminalising homosexuality. Today, the magazine focusses on other legal debates such as the Transgender Person’s Act 2019 and civil rights.

Why do we need a magazine dedicated to the queer space? “Even if the mainstream media covers LGBTQ issues more extensively now, the lens they use to write articles is heteronormative. The way I write for a largely straight audience will be different from the way I write for a largely queer audience, because here we are not just the writers, we are also the readers.”


Facebook: @gaylaxymagazine

Navin Noronha

Standup comedian and podcast host, Mumbai

Identifies as he/him

Follow for: Engaging and humorous takes on all things queer

After three successful seasons of Keeping It Queer , standup comedian and podcast host Navin Noronha is planning on going solo with another podcast. Also in the works is a web series centering around a gay man from the slums of Mumbai.

Having started in 2017, Keeping It Queer has seen India’s social tapestry change from pre- to-post 377. Navin is joined by Farhad Karkaria, to unpack topics such as ‘straight prides’, queer group therapy, gay pageants, and adolescent crushes.

The new podcast will likely be looking at how queerness has evolved. “The pandemic has turned everything on its head. No one goes to queer parties now; queer dating has changed, and now you have to worry about infections on two levels. The lockdown also forced many people to live with their families who might not be very accepting. It can be quite difficult and the dialogue has to include queer mental health, apart from sexual health,” he says.

There is however, a certain superiority among gay men, he adds, saying “We have the luxury of blending in society. For true queer independence, he adds, there has to be a movement to include more trans and intersex voices.

YouTube: Navin Noronha

Instagram: @houseofnoronha

Vivek Tejuja

Vivek Tejuja

Vivek Tejuja

Blogger and author, 37, Mumbai

Identifies as he/him

Follow for: Book reviews and conversations with authors

Books in different colours and sizes occupy most of the space in Vivek Tejuja’s social media pages. He has been an avid reader from his childhood, spending all his free time in the library. “My mother introduced me to books when I was five. I haven’t looked back since,” he says. Vivek is the author of So Now You Know which was published last year and recently put on Audible. It is a memoir about growing up gay in India. “I get messages daily from queer teenagers on how it’s helping them.”

This habit has given him the courage to embrace his gender identity at a young age. “Reading helps you introspect. Knowing that there was a world of queer literature out there and I wasn’t the only one who was struggling with my identity, definitely helped and made things easy,” he explains.

Vivek, who started blogging in 2009, has also been reviewing books since then and puts up his opinions on Instagram and Facebook, along with conversations with authors. “It has helped me get to know other readers and be a part of a larger community.”

Blog :

Instagram : @vivekisms

Rafiul Alom Rahman, founder, The Queer Muslim Project

Rafiul Alom Rahman, founder, The Queer Muslim Project

Rafiul Alom Rahman

Founder of The Queer Muslim Project, 29, Delhi

Identifies as he/him

Follow for: Theology, culture and safe spaces related to homosexuality and Islam

Like many of us, Rafiul’s sleep schedule and work hours have turned chaotic during lockdown. The Delhi lad is hard at work organising online fests from Meghalaya, where he came to visit his parents in early March. He points out that living with family is far easier for some than others: “Many from the queer community are holed up with abusive families. It is especially difficult for those who are transgender,” he says.

The absence of the Project’s offline meeting spaces offering friendship and support is one of the challenges of lockdown, he says, adding, “But a lot of young people are now resorting to the Internet to express themselves creatively and find a community.” The Queer Muslim Project, too, has moved online. “We partnered with British Council in June and organised a month-long Digital Pride Festival. We had a bunch of artists from the queer community across South India and the diaspora. There was dance, music, and a play written by Vikram Phukan, shot on Zoom,” he says.

In September, they kick off a workshop series called Queer Muslim Futures — “to imagine alternative reality, parallel worlds and the kind of future we want to inhabit.”

Instagram: @thequeermuslimproject

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.