QueerAbad, a virtual platform for people belonging to the LGBTQIA (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) community, hosted its fifth meet and greet titled ‘Ask What You Will’ on Sunday, to discuss self-discovery, coming to peace with themselves, queer identity, understanding one’s sexuality and how to have a supportive community to open up to.
Conceived 15 months ago in Ahmedabad, QueerAbad is a virtual platform to develop a safe space for the city’s LGBTQIA community and their families. Through its events the organisation has provided the people a platform to express their feelings through spoken and visual art, cultural interpretations and basic discourse.
During the meet and greet, community members raised questions through chits anonymously which are answered by the others. The questions ranged from ‘what does it mean to be queer identifying’, ‘how to ease parents into one’s sexuality’, ‘representation of queer sexuality in art and culture’ to various other personal questions.
QueerAbad is the conception of Anahita Sarabhai and Shamini Kothari, two young women identifying themselves as queer who want to build a safe space. According to Anahita, the motivation to start the organisation came from the “severe lack that I felt in my life as someone who identified as a queer in Ahmedabad.” She added, “I think it is the best motivation for anyone to start with, especially for someone who belongs to a community that is in desperate need for a cohesive community. I had the luxury and the privilege to fill in the voids I felt in myself.”
Anahita believes that earlier their was a homphobia and insensitivity towards each other’s experience even within the community. Shamini said, “It is time that we realised that the community that did exist was not the space to find support and comfort in, thus, we started QueerAbad.”
The organisation has now planned to come out with a magazine ‘Tilt’ which would crowd source content like poetry, visual art, prose and short fiction. They have also planned Gujarat’s first queer conference ‘Sambandh: West Zone Queer Conference’ for which they have started accepting research papers.