Earlier this month, rumors surfaced on Twitter about Ali Sethi, one of South Asia’s most reputed musicians and the man who brought ghazal to contemporary times was said to have supposedly married Salman Toor, an American artist of Pakistani origin. While both have been highly praised for their work, it seems as though simply rumors of their union (which have been refuted by Sethi) spurned South Asian masses against the two artists, which brings into question of how we can continue our formation of new traditions, if we deny such cultural icons the opportunity to be themselves and therefore, fully realize the true capabilities of their art.

 Toor is a famous Pakistani artist, credited for his depiction of male homosexuality and intimacy in his artworks, with his most famous exhibit being “No Ordinary Love.” The solo exhibition attempts to capture brown men in scenarios of comfort, where they have regained autonomy over their queer identities and can shape the narrative surrounding their sexuality, something which Toor was deprived of during his childhood back in Pakistan. His paintings also question the colonizers’ lens and point of view.

By creating private, deeply comfortable spaces, I hope to give dignity and safety to the boys in my paintings. Somehow, this also makes me feel safe and comfortable, solidifying my context in this culture as a queer man from a Muslim cultural background.” – Salman Toor in an interview with Design Pataki.

Sethi, on the other hand, is one of Pakistan’s only openly queer public figures and has been credited for reviving the ghazal and making it relevant in modern times. His most recent global sensation, Pasoori has also said to subliminally underline fluidity and redefinition of gender identity and the freedom to love who one’s heart desires. The song, which mixes Turkic and South Asian elements, poses a certain duality given the Punjabi lyrics but it can be said that it speaks of the perseverance of love in the face of adversity. Sethi’s use of Sufi motifs, which are notoriously and conveniently ambiguous, allow for the expression of homosexual love, something seen in Sethi’s previous works like Rung. The juxtaposition of traditional garb with bright eclectic colors all through the music video can also be indicative of a mixture of tradition and modernity.

One would think that the peoples’ love for these two artists would transcend such regressive beliefs but mere rumors for their marriage sparked conflict on social media. Accusations of violating Islamic beliefs, derogatory memes, and calls for boycotting Sethi’s performances by his fans ran rampant on Twitter.

This incident brings into question the place of art in our community, and how we look at personal expression and its intersection with identity. If we cannot accept the two of our most loved artists, who’ve entered our homes and hearts through their music and art, who’ve been sources of joy and entertainment, who’ve reinvented and preserved South Asian culture –  then what is the purpose of our traditional values?


Read also – https://dubeat.com/2023/07/03/saffronisation-of-cultural-expression/

Image credits – luhringaugustine.com


Chaharika Uppal

[email protected]


Every day, we come across a wide range of content on social media. From news updates to political opinions to personal blogs, content creation acts as a source of income for many. In many cases, this has unfortunately facilitated the development of media that capitalises on polarising social issues and caters to the “majority,” even at the cost of being offensive or discriminatory towards particular groups. Read ahead to find out what fuels social media’s “economy of hate” and the alarming impacts this has on our society.

The use of social media is on the rise in the contemporary digital era. Following the boom in usage, it has now acquired the function of a community space for news updates, political ideas, and the development of online communities of individuals with shared interests. Being a social media celebrity comes with the added benefit of monetization. This content plays a major role in our daily discussions and the formation of personal opinions. With the added advantage of anonymity, this freedom of speech or expression of thoughts can go unchecked and develop a dark side too.

Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is becoming increasingly common among teenagers and adolescents, as well as in nations with fragile democratic structures and diverse social and religious groups. According to the Pew Research Centre, in 2022, at least half of the young people in the United States had experienced bullying at some point in their lives. India has one of the highest rates of cyberbullying. As per a study by McAfee, 85% of children in India have experienced cyberbullying or have perpetrated it themselves. This rate is nearly twice as high as the global average.

Content creators have a significant role in the perpetuation of cyberbullying. Targeting an individual or community for a few likes in order to grow an account is all too common on Instagram and X (previously Twitter). Some people post discriminatory content as a “joke,” while others post it as a social or political viewpoint. In India, social media is one of the most powerful tools used by politicians to propagate political messaging, which often includes ideological propoganda and hatred towards certain communities. Not only this, but social media has been employed to mould public opinion and cover up the true situation in areas such as Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, the current conversion of Uttrakhand into “devbhoomi”, ethnic violence in Manipur, and ethnic cleansing of Muslims in various parts of the country in the name of illegal encroachment. There are various social media accounts on X (formerly Twitter) dedicated entirely to spreading such malicious content.

Along with using social media for political purposes, another major issue is the use of social media to propagate disinformation about particular subjects such as reservation, gender discrimination, and the queer community. Multiple individuals on X (previously Twitter) grew their accounts by posting abusive and false information about these issues. Engaging in such posts (even if you disagree with the viewpoint being tweeted) helps such tweets develop reach, making it easier for the user to reach wider audiences who may be uneducated on such issues and gullible to misinformation.

The Centre for Countering Digital Hate strives to halt the dissemination of hate speech and false information online. It is a nonprofit organisation that works to defend internet civil liberties and human rights. The Centre for Countering Digital Hate was recently sued by Elon Musk. According to a report in the Washington Post, X filed a complaint in the U.S. Federal Court for the Northern District of California, alleging that CCDH engaged in a number of unlawful acts in an effort to inappropriately access protected X Corp. data. Here are a few citations from CCDH reports:

Anti-LGBT Hate Content

TW// Queerphobia

According to a report by the Centre for Countering Digital Hate, over 1.7 million tweets and retweets since the start of 2022 mention the LGBTQ+ community via a keyword such as “LGBT”, “gay”, “homosexual” or “trans” alongside slurs including “groomer”, “predator” and “paedophile”. The hateful ‘grooming’ narrative online is driven by a small number of influential accounts with large followings. Now new estimates from the Centre show that just five of these accounts are set to generate up to $6.4 million per year in ad revenues for Twitter.

Anti-Muslim Hate Content

TW// Islamophobia

A study by TRT World revealed that 86% of anti-Muslim content originates in the United States, the United Kingdom, and India. According to the research, such hostile content and disinformation led to violent attacks on Muslims and mosques.

According to a report by CCDH, social media companies, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube, failed to act on 89% of posts containing anti-Muslim hatred and Islamophobic content reported to them. CCDH researchers, using platforms’ own reporting tools, reported 530 posts that contain disturbing, bigoted, and dehumanising content that targets Muslim people through racist caricatures, conspiracies, and false claims. These posts were viewed at least 25 million times. Many of the abusive contents were easily identifiable, yet there was still inaction. Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter allow users to use hashtags such as #deathtoislam, #islamiscancer and #raghead. Content spread using the hashtags received at least 1.3 million impressions.

Misogyny and Sexism on Social Media

TW// Misogyny, Sexual Harrasement, and Mentions of Rape

CCDH exposed the most influential and largest incel forum (incel, standing for ‘involunatry celibate,’ a self-assigned social media term for mostly cis-gendered heterosexual men who consider themselves “denied” of sex by women and actively spread misogynistic, sexist, hostile content directed towards women and even men who they consider more sexually accomplished than themselves). This new in-depth study by the CCDH’s Quant Lab shows a 59% increase in mentions of mass attacks, widespread approval of sexual violence against women, with 9 in 10 posters supportive, and support for paedophilia, with the rules explicitly changing in March 2022 to permit the sexualization of ‘pubescent minors’. The ‘Incel Forum’ receives an average of 2.6 million monthly visits and has 17,000 members. Discourse is driven by 406 ‘power users, who produce 74.6% of all posts on the forum, some spending upwards of 10 hours a day on the forum. In some cases, boys as young as 15 are being led down a rabbit hole of hatred and extremism. An analysis of almost 1.2 million posts made over an 18-month period found:

  • A 59% increase in the use of terms and codewords relating to acts of mass violence.
  • Mention of rape every 29 minutes. 9 in 10 (89%) of posters in relevant discussions were supportive of sexual violence against women. The forum’s rules changed to permit the sexualization of “pubescent minors”. 
  • Analysis of discussions of paedophilia on the forum shows that 53% of posters are supportive of sexual violence against children.
  • One in five posts on the forum features misogynistic, racist, antisemitic, or anti-LGBTQ+ language.
  • Mainstream social media platforms like YouTube and Google are enabling pathways to the ‘Incelosphere’.

Casteist Content

From misogyny to queerphobia to caste and race, social issues across the world are being capitalized on under this “economy of hate.” Take, for instance, the Twitter account by the name of “Anuradha Tiwari,” which often posts defamatory and hateful content on reservations. Her whole X and LinkedIn profiles are packed with anti-reservation content. This kind of content fosters young people’s development of hateful opinions and prejudice. A report by The Centre for Internet & Society titled “Online Caste-Hate Speech: Pervasive Discrimination and Humiliation on Social Media” talks about the anti-reservation and casteist content across various social media platforms. Furthermore, it discusses how casteism on campuses is greatly impacted by such online hatred.

In conclusion, the economics of hate create a shadow that undermines our social fabric in the complex network of digital places. Creators are often motivated by financial gain to take advantage of conflicts and controversy by posting systematically discriminatory content online. This exploitation breeds bias, misinformation, and harassment, in addition to eroding empathy. A cycle of hatred is fueled by the pernicious attraction of money because attention-grabbing stories draw attention and increase the wealth of those who spread them. A holistic strategy that includes stronger content regulation, media literacy instruction, and ethical digital citizenship is necessary to combat this destructive influence. We may strive to create a digital environment that is based on respect, understanding, and true connection by eliminating the financial motivations for hatred.

Featured Image Credits: Article-14

Read Also: Decoding Deceptive Deepfake

Dhruv Bhati
[email protected]


The recent Parental Rights in Education bill passed in Florida, USA is just the latest in a long line of
homophobic legislation and policies in and around schools and education. This piece attempts to
trace the history of international and local legislation surrounding LGBTQ+ issues in educational

Educational institutions are regarded as the bedrock for development and windows to the world for
young, impressionable students. Educators are trusted by parents and tasked with the enormous
responsibility of guiding, instructing, and leading bright minds of the future. So, who decides what a
child should be taught to equip them with the necessary cognitive, social, and emotional intelligence
to thrive in society – the parents, the teachers, or the government?
With increasing open discourse on historically ‘inappropriate’ themes, particularly LGBTQ+ issues, it
is only natural for such discussions to make their way to classroom settings. However, this liberal
and unorthodox approach to learning has caused widespread alarm among parents and legislatures
internationally. Parents have expressed disapproval and even hostility towards educators trying to
make inclusive learning spaces, saying it goes against their ‘personal beliefs’. Right-leaning,
conservative legislators have weaponized this vitriol to push their own agendas in school
curriculums, severely limiting the scope for necessary discussions to take place.

International Scenario
Recently, in Florida, USA, Governor Ron DeSantis expanded the scope of the Parental Rights in
Education bill which essentially bans lessons in sexual orientation and gender identity up to grade
12. Topics such as these which were part of courses on reproductive health have been made
optional for students. Critics have called this the ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ which aims to limit or outright
prohibit open conversations on LGBTQ+ positive issues.
At least 15 other states in the United States are considering bills in the current legislative session
that target Queer Clubs in schools, faculty’s and students’ use of gender pronouns, gender-neutral
washrooms, trans students in sports or restrict curriculum, instruction, and library books that
feature queer themes. Educators are being forced to adhere to students’ genders assigned at birth,
not openly discuss matters of sexual orientation, and cannot state their personal attributes or beliefs
on a host of issues including race, religion, and sexuality.
In 2014, in Birmingham, UK, an assistant head teacher designed the ‘No Outsiders’ programme
which sought to educate children about protected attributes under the Equality Act such as sexual
orientation and religion through age-appropriate literature. Storybooks were to be used to introduce
students to ideas of diversity and equality. However, the programme was halted in many schools as
there were widespread protests by parents stating that it goes against their religious beliefs and not
to ‘pollute’ their children.

Dire Consequences
These homophobic legislations or protests often stem from parental fear that educators are
‘indoctrinating’ students in liberal ideas or social justice. There are concerns about teaching ‘sexually explicit’ topics to young children and often homosexuality falls under this umbrella. There exists a
belief that openly homosexual teachers, social workers, and counsellors can encourage sexual
deviation in children. Ideas of ‘perversion’, ‘promotion’, and ‘exploitation’ of children’s innocence
have been widely used in homophobic contexts.
However, this refusal to acknowledge the diversity within communities from the grass-root level can
have detrimental effects on budding learners. Ignoring gender dysmorphia and questioning sexuality
can prove to be psychologically harmful. It serves to boost a sense of internalised homophobia and
isolation among queer students. Furthermore, children with LGBTQ family members, friends, or
children who do not know any LGBTQ people within their near circle are fed the idea that it is
inappropriate to even acknowledge homosexuality.

Closer Look
Moving on to a more microscopic view of the sentiments on queer issues within Delhi University, the
varsity has often been hailed for its progressive student body. Recently SFI organised a Pride Parade
in North Campus which saw active participation from members of the queer community and allies.
However, there are very few colleges in the university with a formally recognised Queer Collective.
There is often hesitance or hostility from the admin to legitimize such collectives despite there being
demand from the student body. Reasons such as ‘this is a minority religion / women-only institute’
or roadblocks such as ‘get permission from your parents’ are presented.
Gender studies within the curriculum are often limited to women’s struggles and refuse to
acknowledge a wider spectrum of gender identities. Despite UGC guidelines preventing
discrimination on the basis of sexuality, there exists a glaring chasm where LGBTQ+ discussions
should take place.

Education is an essential element in combatting homophobia. Therefore, healthy discourse on topics
such as sexual orientation, gender, and sex and its nuances goes a long way in educating the youth
and eliminating bias that has been handed down over generations.


Image Credits: DU Beat Archives

Read Also: The Need for Queer Collectives in Colleges

Bhavya Nayak
[email protected]


Sri Venkateswara College, University of Delhi, has recently witnessed a controversy surrounding a video that was released by some students from the English department, containing harmful misinformation and hate speech about the transgender community. In response, VenQueer, the unofficial queer collective of the college, condemned the video and demanded an immediate apology from the perpetrators.


VenQueer has expressed support for the transgender and gender non-binary groups and urged the administration to take strict measures against those who were behind the video. To promote inclusivity and a safe space for the queer community on the college campus, the collective has also urged for the conduct of more gender and sexuality sensitization programmes and workshops. They have also advised all college students to express their disapproval of the clip and avoid circulating it.


On 30th March, the English Department Association of Sri Venkateswara College released a statement on their social media platform, denouncing the video and expressing their support for the queer community. The association has made it clear that none of the views expressed in the video are tolerated or propagated by its members. The association has also appealed to all college students to refrain from sharing the video and to express their condemnation of it. The association has explicitly stated that none of the opinions presented in the clip are supported or encouraged by its members. The association has also urged all college students to publicly denounce the video and desist from sharing it. 


This is not the first time that instances of discrimination against the queer community have come up at the University campus. Queer individuals faced backlash after the DU Pride parade held a few months back. There is opposition from many colleges. The administration responds to the requests of queer students on campus with hostility, ignorance, indifference, and sometimes threats. Students’ calls for a queer collective are rebuffed with opposition, ignorance, indifference, and even threats from officials as reported at various colleges of the varsity in the recent past. 

Read also: https://dubeat.com/2023/03/31/student-protesters-at-arts-faculty-brutally-detained-by-delhi-police/ 

Image credits: DU Beat Archives

A group of six anonymous students from Hindu College have started a Straight Pride Collective. The page that has surfaced on instagram, is constantly making use of homophobic and right wing inclined hate speeches which includes false claims and misinformation. Read to find out more about it. 

With the changing times, a tone set in to bring about a modification in the place we all call home, more welcoming hands have been stretched to those who have been neglected by the perils of history. The community of LGBTQIA+ has often found itself under the sheets of neglect and unwarranted, unwelcomed chains of threats which has brought a great deal of distress to this part of our society. The growing concerns, the space to feel lost and aloof, and the lack of recognition and acknowledgement had made it quintessential to start a “collective”.

In educational spaces, the unavailability of safe and secure environments for students resonating with this community harnessed the notion to start a collective, a place where they can feel safe to be themselves.  While, a notion of change and progress has been set in by them in mainstream society, there is a group of people who are creating “hindrance” to this growth. 


Not long ago, a social media page was created by the name of “hcstraightpride”, which stands for Hindu College Straight Pride, on instagram. Since its inception, the account has been heavily indulged in homophophic, right wing oriented hate speech. One of the captions of their posts read “when the society loses its way, men like us have to stand up and fix it. We are men of violence, men of honour, and that of respect. We won’t stop until we take back what was snatched from us.” The noticeable thing about this is that the entire account talks about a perspective which believes in the “sin of homosexuality” and how are straight men oppressed of their freedom of speech. Additionally, it is embracing the ideologies aligned with the right wing and scrutinising what is believed to be a part of “radical left” according to this page.




In conversation with a student of Hindu College, Lovansh told DU Beat about the need to create a safe space for the community. He stated that the Hindu College Queer Collective aims at creating such a safe space and asserted that the existence of the same is a protest against the status quo. He claims that what makes the college susceptible to such attacks is the fact that queer culture in specific and student culture is general at Hindu attempts of speaking to power and therefore such an attack is an attack to the culture of Hindu College itself. 


This then should concern not just the queers and allies but the entirety of Hindu College and people who wish to preserve this culture. I hope people come ahead in solidarity for this long standing protest of creating a safe space which we rightfully deserve and shall fight for.

-Lovansh Katiyar, student, Hindu College 


Furthermore, a stunt was pulled off by the page to gain attention. The page made claims to have been invited by TedxHindu College to deliver a speech. To add on to these false claims, they posted a statement of solidarity from the department of Sociology of Hindu College. However, both the platform and the department took to their instagram to issue a statement in regards to the rejection of claims made by the page in question. 






Within the last 24 hours, the page posted what they termed as a “big reveal”. They asserted to have made false claims in order to gain attention which according to them worked. They set a trap for these platforms and they walked straight into it, as the page claims.




Besides this, the page in question posted an article on homosexuality and autism. They affirmed that homosexuality and autism are correlated as, according to them, the IQ levels of both autistic people and homosexuals lie in the same range. As the page believes, autism is an inability to perform basic tasks, communicate properly, and make use of logical reasoning which is further supported by low IQ, they have tuned in homosexuals along with the subject by stating their attraction to gliterry objects and low IQ. In the comments section, people are calling out the actions of the page by disagreeing to such accusations and calling them “ableist” and “homophobic”.




Meanwhile, as we celebrate the spirit of Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the month of Ramadan, the page decided to change its username into “international_straight pride”. They took the step to go international in light of the support and reach they garnered from the page. To add onto the day of festivities, or rather suppressing the spirit by believing that homosexuality is a sin. According to them, one would be invalidating their duas made during ramadan if they continue to support “people of lut” or homosexuals. 


Additionally, it made claims that the religious text- Manusmriti does not sustain the notions of misogyny and has been misinterpreted by ‘Tankies’, ‘socialists’, and ‘liberals’. 



In conversation with the president of Students’ Federation of India Hindu College, Aditi, told DU Beat about their stand on this subject. According to her, SFI condones any sort of queerphobic tendencies in or out of the College campus. In her words, she reflected their unconditional support to the Hindu College Queer Collective


It is imperative we note that the views shared by this dreadful page are the views of Right Wing’s regressive and reactionary ideology which has always raked up such issues to set their agenda of disturbing the atmosphere in academic institutions. 

SFI shares deep rage and contempt towards those involved in these anti-student and anti-social activities.

-Aditi, President, SFI Hindu


With various students pouring in their disbelief and astonishment at the collective’s posts in their comments sections, students continue to condemn the actions of the collective in actions. 


Read Also: Queerphobic “Straight Pride” Collective Emerges in Hindu College


Featured Image Credits: DU Beat


Ankita Baidya

[email protected]

Owing to the Constitutional Amendment where Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was decriminalised  Bollywood is trying to be inclusive of the LGBTQIA+ community. However, have they really been able to?

The LGBTQIA+ community has been ridiculed in Bollywood for decades. Bollywood has been minting money by its dehumanizing depiction of the community. In a broader sense, the entire queer community in Bollywood is misinterpreted because of an actor or director’s notion of the community.

Bollywood movies based on LGBTQIA+ theme were released as early as the 1970s. The film, Badnam Basti, portrays a love triangle between a woman and two men. However, the film disappeared into oblivion shortly after it was released in the theatres. In 1996, Fire was condemned because of the movie’s ‘alien’ depiction of lesbianism that led to protests in many parts of the country.

The LGBTQIA+  representation in Bollywood has peculiar similarities in all its characters. All gay characters have been added to movies for comic relief. For instance, Suresh Menon’s gay character in Partner cracked double meaning jokes, was feminised to match every other gay character in Bollywood films. The Indian society has stigmatized the queer community, and by portraying LGBTQIA+ characters without substance, the chances of the community being ridiculed increase exponentially along with heightened homophobia in the society.

All gay characters are either dance instructors or fashion designers. Many professions have been gendered and this internalized gendering is clearly depicted in Bollywood films. Boman Irani’s character in Dostana is a fashion editor. These stereotypes are affirmed by society which leads to people forming wrong notions about several professions and the community as well.

Apart from a handful of movies, a gay couple in films consists of one partner being extremely feminine and the other partner plays a tough, macho character. The ‘feminine’ partner is seen dressed in ‘colours for women’ such as pink, purple or floral shirts.

Tejasvi, a student of Lady Shri Ram College opined, “Many people in the society refuse to accept the fact that same-sex relationships can be real and due to internalised homophobia, the movies that portray LGBTQIA+  characters having healthy relationships are often condemned. Bollywood has come a long way in terms of representation of the queer community, but it completely depends on the viewers and whether they are ready to accept the relevance of same-sex relationships.”

The coming-of-age web series and movies have taken into account the faulty depiction and stereotypical nature LGBTQ characters and have made an effort to correct these practices. These peculiarities have significantly reduced since the decriminalization of Section 377. Television shows such as Made in Heaven and Four More Shots Please have carefully addressed how the queer community in a country like India faces multiple issues. These shows did not portray its characters in the usual ways that the LGBTQIA+ community is portrayed. They made efforts to apprise the viewers about how bisexuality and homosexuality are absolutely normal and not unnatural unlike how they were portrayed in films earlier.

Ayushmann Khurana’s Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan is being considered a milestone as it is Bollywood’s first gay romantic-comedy film. For many years, homosexuality has been denounced as a disease by many people in the country. The director Hitesh Kewalya made use of comedy to send out an extremely powerful message of societal acceptance of the community. The LGBTQIA+  community has been discriminated against for many years and with the Supreme Court’s ruling on decriminalization of Section 377, the director ensured that the viewers understand that same-sex relationships are as relevant as heterosexual relationships.

Feature Image Credits: Pinkvilla

Suhani Malhotra

[email protected]


On the first anniversary of the scrapping of parts of Section 377, let’s take a look at the life of the members of the LGBTQ+ community post the revolutionary judgement. Have things really changed?

Today marks one year of the 377 judgement, where the supreme court unanimously ruled that consensual same-sex relations were no longer considered ‘against the order of nature’ as the law dictated earlier. The five-judge Constitution bench brought a landmark decision in the history of LGBTQIA+ rights in India. This decision was celebrated by many. Rainbow merchandise and profile pictures flooded the internet. Solidarity came in the form of hushed whispers in the University campus and low squeals of ‘Congratulations’ in-between friends. Solidarity came in the form of comfort that we’re not criminals anymore. The famous slogan used at pride parades and protests, “kaunsa kanoon sabse battar? AFSPA, sedition, teen-sau sathatarr (Which law is the worst? AFSPA, sedition, 377)” was now lost in the pages of history.

A reality check followed immediately after the judgement, it was a small step in a big direction, one that could change the face of queer rights in India, but did it make a difference to the everyday lives of queer-identifying folks?

The lives of people from the community are still subject to scrutiny, harassment, and threats. It is not uncommon to hear about young people from the community being disowned from their families because of their identity. It is not uncommon to hear about employees being fired because of their identity. Queerness comes with an eternal bond to humiliation and loneliness, even national champion Dutee Chand was degraded and shamed after she came out.

The 377 judgement creates the disbelief that people can finally come out of the closet, but in truth, coming out is like stepping out in a minefield.

Queerness comes with tied misogyny and sexism. Queer communities are far from getting away with hierarchies and casual sexism. The 377 judgement tackled consensual same-sex relations but it fails to address the homophobia in the everyday life of the society. From Bollywood tropes and songs to ‘woke liberal spaces’, homophobia still thrives proudly and shows very little signs of fading away. The abolition of section 377 also gave rise to rainbow capitalism. Corporate marketed rainbow-themed merchandise, from t-shirts to underwear, rainbow capitalism gave more leverage to the so-called liberal class for spurring out casual homophobia and queerphobia while masquerading around in rainbow merchandise.

“There is no difference; we now see rainbow merchandise being openly available by big corporate brands. That’s all.” says a student from Ramjas College.

Queer identities are yet to be accepted fully in the public space. In the case of the University of Delhi (DU), National Students’ Union of India’s (NSUI) election manifesto promises reservation in hostels for the LGBTQIA+ community and sessions to sensitise the students and faculty about them. However, the increase of harassment during the DUSU elections makes the University campus another minefield for visibly queer folks.

“My professors are more likely to act like discrimination based on my queerness no longer occurs because the judgement happened. Like section 377 was the only problem we faced and after the judgement, we were alright again.” says a student from National Law University, Delhi. “No, I don’t feel safe in public spaces. I think there’s more backlash because of the 377 judgement.” adds a student from DU. All of this makes one wonder, has the country really progressed since 377 was taken down?

“Not in the slightest, one cannot be persecuted by law but will be persecuted by the public.” says a graduate from Bangalore University. “The only difference I see is that people now know what Section 377 was.” says a student from the Ambedkar University.

India has a long way to go in terms of queer rights and making public spaces queer-friendly. The change does not begin from courtrooms but from small acts of acceptance and inclusivity.

Feature Image Credits: Namrata Randhawa for DU Beat

Jaishree Kumar

[email protected]

India is a deeply homophobic nation, with not only rampant homophobia in mainstream society, but also policies that deny the LGBTQ community basic human rights and access to laws regarding equality and privacy. In such an environment, it is difficult to stay optimistic about love and support. However, the LGBTQ community in Delhi offers several events to combat the negativity that we face on a daily basis.

In the second week of December, Harmless Hugs and Love Matters organised the Delhi International Queer Theatre and Film Festival. While the turnout here was quite low, one of the most exciting events that the community looks forward to each year is the Pride Parade.

Taking place on the last Sunday of November, the Delhi Queer Pride Parade draws a huge crowd, including both members of the LGBTQ community and allies. The Parade kicks off each year on the crossing of the Barakhamba Road and Tolstoy Marg, and members marching until Jantar Mantar, where there is a stage for anyone who would like to perform. The Parade is characterised by banners, both heart-wrenching and hilarious, eccentric personalities, and smiling faces. The two years that I have attended Pride have ended in me going home with an aching jaw, tired from all the smiling that was the result of an environment of confidence, defiance, and happiness.

While the Parade misses out on a chunk of syllabus-cramming students due to its time of year, it never fails to garner publicity from major media outlets. Last year, renowned activist Laxmi led the Parade. This year, NDTV and the online portal Youth Ki Awaaz were some of the coverage partners at the event. While the most obvious cause of the Parade is the demand for LGBTQ rights, the march also focuses on contemporary issues. For example, the violence in Kashmir and the discrimination against Dalits were some of the topics this year.

For anyone looking to gain a sense of home, Pride is the perfect place to fit in, even among strangers. Despite 2016 being the worst, at least Delhi is keeping alive the culture of love in these awful times.


Two boyfriends at the Delhi Queer Pride Parade, 2016


Image Credits: Vagabomb


Vineeta Rana

[email protected]