Queer Infocus | May II 2020


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

StanChart extends staff mediclaim to LGBT partners

22nd May, 2020

Standard Chartered Bank extends medical and domestic relocation benefits to LBGT+ partners of all employees in India and has been taking successive steps in ensuring an equal and inclusive workplace over the past year, starting with the launch of GLAD (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, allies and advocates), an employee resource group. The lender also organised multiple sensitisation sessions and also made available toolkits for employees to raise their awareness on LGBT+ issues. They also participated in the first LGBT+ job fair in Mumbai last year.

Sachin Gupte, HR head, StanChart India, said that they are committed to having an inclusive, safe and open environment for all LGBT+ colleagues in the bank.

Click here for full article

MPs get ‘pink-listed’ in new digital archive

23rd May, 2020

State of the QUnion, billed as India’s largest queer political archive by a volunteer-run group Pink List India, tracks statements on queerness and queer rights made by Lok Sabha members. The free archive is presented as an interactive, user-friendly map with two shades of pink — dark pink for the vocal, light pink for the silent — on Pink List India’s website. Report cards for each MP and a list of statistics are also available.

Anish Gawande, the co-founder said that the report cards can be accessed through the map and shows every single statement Mps have made on queer issues.

Click here for full article

India’s first gay film Badnam Basti resurfaces after nearly half a century’s hibernation in Berlin archive

29th May,  2020

Badnam Basti, a 1971 Hindi film which is considered to be India’s first gay film, has surfaced after 49 years of being in a Berlin archive. Set in Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh, the film depicts a homosexual relationship between Sarnam Singh, a bus driver who moonlights as a bandit and Shivraj who volunteers in a temple.

Badnam Basti shares the title with the name of the Hindi novel written by writer Kamleshwar Prasad Saxena. The novel was serialised in the Hindi literary journal Hans before being published in 1957 and later being translated into English as A Street with 57 Lanes.

Even though the film roped in big names and dealt with queer romance with sensitivity, it was given an adult certificate for its themes of dacoity and human trafficking thereby limiting its reach.

Click here for full article.

Pride Month 2020: A virtual allyship challenge to celebrate LGBT+ inclusion movement

30th May, 2020

With Covid-19 taking over the world and social distancing norms in place, many pride parades and events that take place to celebrate the Global Pride Month, i.e June have been cancelled.

Pride Circle has come up with an initiative called the #21DaysAllyChallenge, a global programme to take conscious steps to recognise and neutralise biases and stereotypes about the LGBT+ community and enable social change. It aims to bring together individuals and influencers from over 28 countries and 70 organisations to build a global community of LGBT+ allies.

To participate free of cost, sign up via this link.

Click here for full article.

Queer in quarantine: Verbal assaults, bullying & crass jokes make quarantine experience a nightmare for transgenders

31st May, 2020

Covid-19 has brought upon another nightmare for members of the transgender community as quarantine centres or healthcare facilities aren’t taking into account gender expression when accommodating transgenders, leading to their harassment and risking their safety. Meena, an 18-year-old transwoman in Odisha was put in a facility along with 14 men where she was subjected to cruel jokes, sexual innuendos and crass questions over her anatomy.

In Mumbai, a 28-year-old transgender complained of the distress she faced when using toilets in the facility. Woman screamed at her and often ran away in disgust. To make things worse, the lab assistant who took her samples for testing asked her what she would “charge for a night”.

Manipur sets an example for other states by organising two quarantine centres for the LGBT+ community after learning about the inconveniences faced by transgenders who returned from various states.

Please take a look at our article on what we can do as queer allies during COVID-19. 

Published by The Pink List India, here’s a list of organisations working towards providing immediate relief for the queer community across the country.

Haima Simoes is the Outreach Officer at the Queer Rights Center, 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