Fear of Queer
The word "queer" literally means "strange" or "peculiar". And since "traditional" Indian society has insisted on recognising only two genders, and considers only heterosexual relationships as valid, this is a terrifying concept, and isn't entirely welcome here.
Over the years, "queer" became a proudly reclaimed word. One that was a slur a century ago now empowers all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) individuals who don't conform to "traditional" heteronormative stereotypes; because individuality of sexuality and gender was never meant to fit into a box. There is no black or white or even grey - there is only lots of colour. 🌈
Why the hate against them, then?
In the 1800s, our constitution criminalised anal and oral sex under Section 377, because they were considered "unnatural acts". And while the queer community has given the world so many icons across pop culture and other fields, millions of queer individuals have had to suffer for that same individuality.
The tide is slowly turning however, with the Supreme Court set to reconsider the validity of Section 377 this year, ensuring that a section of individuals who exercise their choice should never remain in a state of fear.
All that the queer community hopes for is freedom from discrimination, and an end to the violence and hate they face.
Helping them achieve that goal are platforms like Queer Azaadi Mumbai which organises the Pride March; blogs like Gaysi which provides a safe space and voice to the desi LGBTI people; and initiatives like the Aravani Art Project which helps connect the trans community to their local neighbourhoods through art.