Queer Infocus | January I ’20


Queer InFocus is a bimonthly roundup of queer news in India.

India’s LGBTQ+ community joins citizenship law protests

3rd January, 2020

The queer community joins hands in New Delhi to march against the Citizenship Amedment Act (CAA), which critics say violates the country’s secular constitution. The protesters on Friday marched from a square in central New Delhi to Jantar Mantar. Shabnam Hashmi, an activist, told Al Jazeera that women, the transgender community and queer persons are going to be the worst affected if a nationwide NRC is implemented. “With the kind of taboos attached to queer and transgender communities, many of them are thrown out of their homes in childhood itself,” she said.

Click here for the full article.

Pink & Proud: How Indian MNCs are becoming more LGBTQ-friendly

8 January, 2020

Tech Mahindra has recently introduces queer friendly policies for their employees like same-sex adoption leave and bereavement leave where same-sex couples can avail of 12 weeks of paid leave in the case of adoption and three days of bereavement leave. “Kaleidoscopes” is another initiative where stories from community members will be shared to the larger audience. Recently, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) broadened the scope of its health insurance policy coverage to include same-sex partners as well. The new policy has replaced the term ‘spouse’ with ‘partner’ to bring in a more inclusive policy. Further, as per the new policy, up to 50 per cent of a sex reassignment/gender reassignment surgery will be covered by insurance.

Tata Steel also recently introduced a new HR policy whereby it allows employees to disclose details of their partner and get HR benefits. This includes health check-ups, adoption leave, child care leave and newborn parent leave. The policy also allows LGBTQ employees to receive financial aid for gender reassignment surgery and a 30 day leave for the same. The Lalit Suri Hospitality Group presently has the highest number of LGBTQ+ employees employed in the hospitality sector. It became the first hotel chain in India to extend employee benefits to its LGBTQ+ employees and families, which included same-sex partners, adoptive parents and children and children born through surrogacy in its healthcare plan.

Click here for the full article.

Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan: Ayushmann Khurrana Reveals Why He Chose a Film On the LGBTQ Community

16 January, 2020

Ayushmann Khurrana will soon be seen on the big screen portraying a gay character in a movie surrounding same sex relationships in India. “I was born and brought up in a small city and growing up I did not have adequate knowledge, understanding on this,” he says. “I have seen my perspective about the LGBTQ community evolve and I slowly recognised the societal stigma and stereotypes associated with the community at large and it pained me.”

The versatile actor reveals that he was a proud Indian when Article 377 was struck down by the Supreme Court of India. “Human beings are born equals and should be treated as equals. Who they are, whom they love, what their choices are should never be questioned in a free country,” he states. “Sadly, that doesn’t really happen anywhere and evolution to becoming a better society is always a process, always a work in progress. I’m grateful that our nation has also evolved with time.”

Click here for the full article

Ashok Row Kavi steps down as Humsafar Trust Chairman

7 January, 2020

Ashok Row Kavi, the founder Chairperson of Mumbai-based Humsafar Trust has stepped down from his post. Humsafar Trust was founded in 1994 by Kavi, an Indian journalist and activist. In 2018, before parts of Section 377 were scrapped, Kavi had been one of the individuals who filed a petition urging the SC to decriminalise same-sex relations.

Click here for the full article

Shruti Venkatesh is the Program Director at the Queer Resource Center at One Future Collective.

Mapping and negotiating power

Uncuff India Episode 10: Dimensions of conflict and peace: visioning a utopian world

Uncuff India Episode 9: Civic space and dissent: A pathway to social justice