Going by the flags, badges and emails about “diversity and inclusion”, it is easy to believe that Pride Month in India has just become a pastiche of parades and marches, inspired largely by the colourful shows from San Francisco and New York. But, as Grace Banu, a trans and Dalit activist, told one of our writers, “what does it even mean for someone in rural India who doesn’t know what Pride is and has no safe space or privilege to practise it?” Or as Lounge columnist Sandip Roy writes in this issue, we seem to have forgotten that the LGBTQ+ movement in India comes with “its own cultural context… and gender-bending stories” and “needs to be grounded in that home-grown reality”.
This has started happening in India with a younger generation of queer activists who are using social media to talk about and strengthen the queer liberation movement, one post and photograph at a time.
These queer influencers—seven of whom Lounge has profiled—use their social media accounts to raise awareness about LGBTQ+ rights, while trying to make the point that they are no different from anyone else. More importantly, though, they serve as a source of inspiration and hope to other members of the community who may be feeling isolated, confused or struggling with identity and sexuality. Their stories, told in their own voices, are shaping the narrative on queerness in India.
Other stories not to be missed in this issue include a tribute by our tea expert, Aravinda Anantharaman, to local chaiwallahs and her search for inexpensive, fuss-free tea in Bengaluru, and a snarky piece by author Shunali Khullar Shroff on good and bad parenting as advocated by Instagram influencers. Talented, young British author Gurnaik Johal, whose debut collection of short stories is garnering acclaim, tells Lounge about his interest in the lives of the early migrants from Punjab to Southall in the UK, and why he chose to write about them. And as always, we have the best suggestions for what to read, eat, listen to and watch, not just this weekend but in the week ahead too.
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