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In the winter oftwo policewomen in Madhya Pradesh hit the headlines for the unlikeliest of reasons: They were in love. Leela Ramdeo and Urmila Srivastava met on the job, fallen for each other, and decided to get married. After the ceremony, the two women went to a local studio for a customary wedding photo. A few days later, they were back at work. But wedded bliss was not theirs to be. A photo of the ceremony was leaked, some say by a co-worker, and the police moved swiftly to fire and imprison them, because they were apparently a bad influence to other women at work.

Vanita wrote that a journalist who visited them in February found unprecedented support among neighbours. It is a wedding of two souls.

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Where in the scriptures is it said that it has to be between a man and a woman? In an era before the internet, with little information and public visibility for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender LGBT community, this is how queer people lived their lives, and found companionship, and sometimes, love.

Others label it a disease to be cured, an abnormality to be set right, a crime to be punished. The present report has been prepared with a view to showing how none of these views can stand the test of empirical reality or plain and simple common sense.

The late s and early s were a tumultuous time for the public expression of gender and sexuality in an India that was also shedding its socialist skin and entering the fast lane of global capitalism. The next year, Delhi-based activist, Giti Thadani, started a network called Sakhi, where lesbian women could communicate via letters. The Bombay Dost carried advertisements of Sakhi regularly, and women responded to those advertisements, writing in to Sakhi and seeking others like them to correspond with.

In Mumbai then BombayWomen to Women was started in Aprilas a face-to-face community, inspired by the letters sent to Sakhi. It even resulted in a picnic at a beach close to Mumbai — the first such meeting of women who desired other women, in the city. Dave quotes some letters sent to Sakhi. Please let me have some addresses of lesbian sisters. I am 35 years of age. I want to be an active lesbian member of your organisation.

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I do not have any other companion except one here. I hope you will help me… You are my only hope. These could happen anywhere and in almost any context — at a family wedding, or on a city bus in transit to school or work. Anish, who only gave his first name and grew up in a small town in Karnataka before moving to Bengaluru, recalled the loneliness of not knowing anyone else who was gay or understanding the desires he was feeling.

I had never heard of cruising before, but in a couple of days, I had become a regular, and even found a boyfriend. Cruising, or finding other queer people for conversation, sex or relationship in public spaces, was one prong of queer life — a relief for many gay men locked in conservative families and committed to living, on the face of it, a heterosexual life.

If you travelled to another city, you would have a few s to call to get invited into a whole new party scene. But some paid a heavy mental toll for living in the shadows, spending years trying to be themselves, having the confidence in oneself and not to judge oneself through the eyes and mind of society. At 51, I have missed out on a school or college romance or even finding love. These are things any heterosexual person would take for granted. As a friend said, many of us are now fixed in our ways because we had to fortify?

The third prong were letters and anonymous columns in various newspapers, and newsletters and magazines run by LGBT organisations. The letters these groups received were varied, and formed a rich repository of not only the lives of lonely, isolated or confused queer individuals but also a society struggling to come to terms with its desires, fears and aspirations. This history was encapsulated in yellow envelopes, inland forms, Woman seeking casual sex Bulger postcards and aerogrammes — from all over West Bengal, nearly all corners of India, and also abroad.

The publication, focused on South Asia, quickly grew from a newsletter to a full-fledged magazine that would be shipped to all corners of the world. The everydayness was immensely assuring. The relative lack of information and visibility of queer lives and terminologies was sometimes, ironically, helpful. In the s, he would receive letters from across the country, from as far as Amaravati, Darjeeling or Jaipur. People who came to visit me from other cities would stay for three or four days, and so sex was not the only thing on their mind.

The world was very different for transgender people, who had their elaborate networks of guru-chela systems, community events and festivals, such as the decades-old Koovagam festival in Tamil Nadu, where thousands of transpersons congregate every year for celebrations.

Ranjita Sinha, an activist from Bengal, remembered the s as a difficult time for many transpersons like her — and a reality that was completely removed from the lives of many gay men. Such action, often on flimsy charges such as obscenity or the now-read down Sectioncontinues because of Woman seeking casual sex Bulger impunity and lack of sensitisation. Shrigauri Sawant from Mumbai said that the rise of the internet had meant the closure of many public spaces frequented by transgender people. But this never stopped people from living their lives — or having fun.

His neighbour, Lucinda Rodrigues, a year-old resident of Parra village in Goa, remembers his fondly. Riyad was a gay man who made films about gay subjects, unabashedly so. The film went to over 50 international film festivals. Wadia made films about subjects pertaining to gender and sexuality at a time when conversations about these issues did not have any social traction. Section was still in place, and homosexuality as well as transgender identity were mocked at and considered aberrations.

The stories of her life and her struggles were most famously told in the book, Myself Mona Ahmedby Dayanita Singh. Ahmed lived in a graveyard where she claimed several of her ancestors were buried, and was close to her guru, Chaman, though she took away Ayesha.

Her s became one of the first repositories of trans lives in India. So much research was done in all fields, but on eunuchs there is no research. In villages they are gifts of God; in cities they are men trying to be women, but no one has access to their souls. Mona died in Betu Singh was a lesbian activist, who co-founded Sangini, which functioned initially as a helpline and later as a shelter for lesbians on the run.

The daughter of a military man, Singh studied in Meerut University, and shifted to Delhi after she was offered a job in security at the Centaur Hotel. Sangini began as a helpline, but as Singh said in a interview to Sridhar Rangayan for a film which was part of the Project Bolo series, it was soon felt that the women needed to move beyond that for face to face meetings.

As a support group, often volunteers would be trained to handle calls from women from around the country. As a support group, however, more caution was needed in vetting who would be given the physical address of the space. Eventually, Maya Shanker and Singh started a shelter for runaway couples under the auspices of Sangini. It was not easy. One year, the family of one of the women descended upon the shelter, and broke the windows. Singh, all of five feet tall, stood on the doorway and warded them off. Much before other human rights groups cottoned on to the fact that the rights of those who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, as well as those who were HIV positive were human rights, Gautam and other members of the ABVA were already articulating these positions.

The Less Than Gay report unequivocally called homosexuality a political issue, and not simply one that was confined to the private lives of individuals. Human rights violations based on gender and sexuality discrimination spurred Gautam towards activism.

However, Gautam died in from cancer.

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He was only Astronaut shares incredible video of aurora australis taken from space. Man did this when kids from neighbourhood started playing musical instruments. The tails of boo-boo and cuddly poo will tell the plight of stray animals. At the turn of a new decade, how queer people lived, loved, and found companionship in the s. Finding love and companionship was tricky and, on occasion, a matter of luck. The other was private house parties, though they were the preserve of a few in big cities.

The unsung trailblazers Wadia made films about subjects pertaining to gender and sexuality at a time when conversations about these issues did not have any social traction. Mona Ahmed, an aged transperson at her home in New Delhi. Betu Singh was a lesbian activist, who co-founded the Sangini network. Betu Singh: Pioneering organiser Betu Singh was a lesbian activist, who co-founded Sangini, which functioned initially as a helpline and later as a shelter for lesbians on the run. Get our daily newsletter Subscribe.

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