In a bid to spread awareness, discussions around the LGBTQ community has been taking place in major cities across India. With Kerala becoming the latest state to hold its first transgender beauty pageant and spreading awareness through film festivals like the Kashish-Mumbai International Queer Film Festival, the efforts to build an inclusive approach towards the community has been endearing. But often, many members and supporters of the community continue to face backlash and be at the receiving end of stereotypes against them. Many mindsets in the society continue to be riddled with confusing notions and understanding of the LGBTQ community. This is precisely what, many prestigious institutes of the country are coming together to challenge, this June. Called #QueerPeCharcha, the LGBTQ clubs of IITs and IIMs, spearheaded by Umeed-IIM Kozhikode and IIM Ally-IIM Ahmedabad will organise an online education series spreading awareness about LGBTQ, this pride month ie. June.
Himanshu Singh, an IIM Kozhikode graduate and a Mumbai resident, came out as gay in 2016. Talking to indianexpress.com, Singh had said that there were many ill-informed questions that has come his way. Which is why, along with Anoop Yadav from IIM Ahmedabad, he decided to come up with this fundamental awareness programme. “We know India is a place where sex education is always frowned upon. It becomes harder for the queers to accept themselves when the whole society enforce norms on them,” Singh said. He believes this can be challenged through education and having informed discussions. He explained how in fact, many from the LGBTQ community themselves are unaware about many questions pertaining to the community and hence struggle to explain things to others.
According to Singh, some of the common misconceptions that people harbour against the LGBTQ community are “every transgender is a hijra (eunuch)”, “all gay men are feminine”, “homosexuality is a disease that can be cured”, etc.
The campaign will see LGBTQ clubs from other institutes like BITS Pilani, IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur, IIT Kharagpur, IIT Gandhinagar and IISc Bangalore coming together to bolster the cause. One topic will be focused on each day of June that is celebrated as Pride Month wordwide. Sex, gender, orientation, LGBT rights, legality, LGBTQ policies at workplace, international LGBTQ spaces, LGBTq and religion, myth-busters etc. are some of the key areas that will be primarily focused on. Singh, a Mumbai resident, said they are using social media as a prominent space to spread their word, because of its widespread reach.