Queer collectives are still a new idea within the colleges of University of Delhi. While there is an overall need for collectives of other kinds of minorities as well, let’s explore the case for queer collectives in colleges.
Queer collectives are basically groups that lie somewhere in between the spectrum of support groups/forums and representative organisations. Their purpose is to provide a space for the LGBTQ+ community, which is still very much marginalised in a country like India.
Even around the world, the focus on recognising queer identities has increased in the past few years with increased visibility in the media, increased protections through legislation, and greater focus in general. Of course, a lot of focus was never put on the community to begin with, hence the levels we are currently operating at our abysmally low. In India, along with the legal hurdles faced by the community, there is the added issue of how the society views the community. It’s not just the fact that queer folks are mostly treated with an utter lack of basic respect, bullied or mocked for who they are, and treated as punch lines for jokes in movies that show a stereotypical representation; there is also a bigger issue of people simply not understanding them. The idea that sexual orientations are naturally, biologically determined and that ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ are two different concepts, where ‘gender’ is a social construct that involves personal choice, is alien to most of the population. This is not surprising, considering the absolute lack of proper sex/gender related education imparted at school levels.
In such a scenario, it is imperative to have an organisation that can bridge this information gap, and provide a space for queer people to tell their stories, voice out their fears and confusions, and find others like them for support. They can also organise events in the college, helping to normalise the attitudes of the administration regarding them. For people who have struggled to find those like them or non-queer folk who would support them (called ‘allies’ by the movement), such collectives can be great agents of change and bring much needed comfort. It is high time we take this initiative.
Feature Image Credits: Hindustan Times