LGBTQ+ community


“Parade of Power, Pride and Resistance- March for Progressive and Inclusive Campuses” read the poster of the pride parade organised by Students’ Federation of India (SFI). However, the march was met with strong opposition from members of the queer community, who accused SFI of queer baiting and alleged that the parade was nothing more than tokenism.

On June 1, 2023, the North Campus of Delhi University was engulfed in the colours of the pride flag. Hundreds of marching feet echoed across campus as the Student Federation of India (SFI) organised a pride parade to celebrate and support the LGBTQIAP+ community. Horizontal reservations for transgender students, GSCASH implementation, gender-neutral washrooms, queer-inclusive mental health cells, and anti-ragging cells were among some of the top demands of this year’s pride parade.

However, the parade drew strong criticism not only from queerphobes but also from members of the community who accused SFI of queer baiting. Many queer student activists and members of queer collectives and gender cells across Delhi alleged that the pride march is nothing more than SFI’s tokenistic attitude. The SFI’s ignorance or inaction on queer matters throughout the year created a solid foundation for these allegations. Many queer activists and students chose not to participate in the parade. This caused a heated debate within the community.

If not SFI then who? The majority of student unions have historically neglected queer issues, and this continues to be the case today. Whether it is NSUI, ABVP, or AISA. SFI is the only student organisation that talks about queer rights and organises pride parades on campus that are attended by hundreds of people and stands out for queer rights. It’s still better than doing nothing even if they are only doing it for political reasons.

-Prakhar Gangwar (He/They)

Some people in the community, however, believe that building a new room is better than making concessions or attempting to fit into a certain space.

Most political parties or student unions don’t care about queer issues. They talk about rights when doing so serves their political objectives. Abolishing such places sends a loud and clear message that queer lives are not a commodity to be exchanged for votes. Resisting tokenistic behaviours will likely lead to a successful organisation that cares about queer rights.

-Astha Bansal (She/Her)

But in a country like India, where everything revolves around politics, Is this really a good option?

You can’t abolish such spaces. Majority of the country is still unaware about the queer community. It is only cities like Delhi, Mumbai or other metropolitan cities which give you freedom and a chance to organise and attend queer events like pride parades where you get to meet people from the community and freely express yourself.

-Pravishti (She/ Her)

The conversation on whether the pride parade was just a bait or not became pertinent after a few people who attended the parade posted about their experiences on social media.

It appeared to be an SFI political rally. The number of SFI flags heavily outnumbered the number of pride flags.

-Anonymous (She/They)

It was not an apolitical pride parade. A political party organised a political pride parade. So, of course, we’ll have our flags. I identify as queer. I would not have stayed here if SFI uses pride parade as a queerbaiting tool. As a queer student, I say that SFI supports us, and I say this as the president of Indradhanush: The queer affirmative of ZHDC (Morning), not as a representative of SFI. If SFI stops to be the support system, the QC won’t last a single day.

-Arnab Adhikari (He/Him), SFI Member & President of Indradhanush

According to Arnab, the absence of effective social media management has resulted in this debate.

We aren’t handling social media properly. We don’t talk much about the work we do on social media. We all realised that we must communicate, we must post more to avoid such misunderstandings.

-Arnab Adhikari (He/Him)

Pride month always brings discussions around queer baiting into the limelight. Pride month, when it comes to queerbaiting gets reduced to nothing more than a celebration of the unfair privilege enjoyed by the dominant segment of the queer community. The privileged section of the community, largely cis-gay men who dominate most queer spaces, is at the top, while the transgender community is at the bottom. To fully understand this, we must first acknowledge that hierarchy and dominance are inevitable, and, consequently, this cycle of dominance also exists within the queer community. Cis-gay men dominate most queer spaces, tokenistic behaviour by political parties or corporations has little influence on them, and they continue to feed corporate tokenism and empty politics and benefit from it at the same time.


Read Also: Pride and Privilege: An unequal scale

Featured Image Credits: Instagram Page- DU Beat and SFI Delhi


Dhruv Bhati

[email protected]

Amma, it has been sometime since I began questioning my sexuality. Despite being open to non-heterosexual relationships, I do not feel comfortable attaching a label to myself. What do I do about it?

Oh, my dear Idli! Your Amma understands the dilemma you are in. We are all brought up in such a heteronormative and monogamous society that most of us are conditioned to think about our sexuality in a certain way. When we get out of institutions such as schools (yes, darling, school was not too fond of your Amma’s thoughts and questions either), we tend to feel more free and liberated, and people tend to feel comfortable exploring their sexuality.

Labels may be empowering for some people, but of course they do not work for everybody. We are all humans, naa? We are all different. We cannot always fit into boxes and categories. I know that the labels available to define sexuality are very accommodating and fluid. But the very act of choosing a label for yourself and having to stick to it may be very disconcerting for many. Sexualities are not static. Your understanding of your sexuality can change over time, and claiming a label should not have to be a lifelong commitment.

Your sexual orientation is indeed a part of your identity. But your identity does not need to be defined. University spaces tend to be free, yet they are not entirely devoid of queerphobia. Labelling yourself is a brave act. Choosing not to label yourself is brave as well. None the less, labelling is a choice, my dear. There is no one way to be queer. I once had a child of about your age tell me, “Being queer is just choosing to go beyond the norm”. You may be conscious of it and want to find a label that best describes you in order to associate yourself with a community of people. Or you may want to not call yourself anything and still consciously associate yourself with a community.

Amma needs you to take care of yourself and be kind to yourself. Think about what you like and are comfortable with. I hope you prioritise yourself. I am happy that my dear idli came to me to express their concern. Asking for help is brave, darling. Amma is always one question away from you!

Sex Amma 

[email protected] 

The University of Delhi is aiming to include more transgender students during the University admission process, but given the archaic thoughts in Indian society, will this lead to positive consequences or their further isolation?

In 2015, the University of Delhi (DU) introduced the option of a ‘third gender’ to its admission forms. But for the next three years no admission was taken under this category. To improve this, in 2018, DU further established a Transgender Resource Center  to reach out to more transgender students but the authorities met the same fate.

The authorities have now decided to reach out to encourage more admissions of transgender students. The process will involve reaching out to neighbourhoods, organising camps and sessions, spreading information about the admission process, and requirements regarding the same. Student volunteers and NGOs working for the welfare of the community will be actively involved in the process. The centre would also engage in dialogues with female professors and students to remove the restrictions related to the admission of transgenders in all women colleges.The University authorities have also collaborated with National AIDS Control Organisation, Delhi and Haryana state AIDS control societies for the same.

A number of harassment cases have also been noticed in the past. A student’s petition led to the Article 354(A) under the Indian Penal Code which allowed transgender individuals to complain against harassment. Another transgender student on speaking to a national daily spoke how they were called a chakka on the day of admissions itself. The problem also extends to lack of washrooms and other provisions for these students.

Transgender students have appealed to the court to allow them to change their name and gender in forms. However, this can be allowed only if they change it on their school certificates. The High Court ordered the officials from Central Board of Secondary Education to meet the University authorities and take a decision on the same. This is also because 80% of the applicants are from CBSE. For now, these students are only applying to the School of Open Learning.

Devyani Arora of Kamala Nehru College provided a positive view on the same. She said, “For any sort of inclusivity, there would be certain barriers, but the idea of starting something like this becomes extremely important. The inclusion of transgenders is not just needed, but also a great step for their upliftment.”

For the community to gain acceptance, it needs access to education which can further lead to their emancipation.

Feature Image Credits: The Indian Express

(With inputs from The Times of India)

Shivani Dadhwal

[email protected]

Take any mainstream movie since the inception of Bollywood and you’re bound to find the same storyline where a boy meets a girl, they fall in love, and the rest is history. While such a conception of love and romance is seriously misleading in itself, the lack of representation of queer people, particularly queer love, is abhorrent.

The term ‘love story’ is used for movies of the romance genre, to be more precise they stand for a heterosexual version of love stories. Any discussion on the queer world and view in Bollywood seems a distant luxury. In the past several years, gay characters have had the ‘privilege’ to score themselves some space, but such characters are based on unhealthy and homophobic stereotypes. It seems that Bollywood directors and producers see the LGBTQ+ population as feminine men trying to hit on straight men. Anything beyond that is an unexplored territory.

The LGBTQ+ population is reduced to punch lines and is projected in the inferior-superior standard that has been built by society. Queer people are not comic reliefs! Asking for a role model worthy character is too much to ask right now. What is desirable is the adequate representation of queer people.

It is interesting how movies like ‘Aligarh’, ‘Fire’, ‘My Brother Nikhil’, and ‘LOEV’ become art films, rather than mainstream films. Is it the lack of audience or the lack of marketing, one needs to ask themselves. Another issue with queer cinema in India is its tragic ends. While heterosexual children are brought up on extremely dubious and exaggerated hopes of ‘true love’, queer children are brought up on extremely sad movies.

Up until the soon-to-be-released film ‘Evening Shadows’, realistic queer movie shave been banned or protested against. Why? The censor board cites ‘glorifying homosexuality’, ‘accentuation of vital parts’ of the male body, the portrayal of Hinduism in a ’derogatory manner’ as reasons. Ironically, the censor board goes blind when movies ‘glorify’ heterosexuality and accentuate the ‘vital parts’ of the female body. We are guessing that the ideals of ‘Hinduism’ must allow it.

Realism in Bollywood is important. Not only do we need a realistic expectation of heterosexual love, but an introduction of authentic queer character facing real challenges, overcoming them, building families, and being happy the way they are. Movies on self-discovery are also vital to allow queer people to relate their self-discovery journeys and becoming comfortable with their identities.


Feature Image Credits: Netflix

Raabiya Tuteja
[email protected]

Nazariya- an LGTBQ+ Straight alliance organized a Bloody Pad Campaign on 28th February near Lady Shri Ram College raising their voice against rape culture and the misbehaviour women need to face during Holi.

Nazariya- an LGTBQ+ Straight alliance organized a Bloody Pad Campaign on 28th February near Lady Shri Ram College for Women (LSR). They conducted a march, held a public discussion on consent, the perpetuation of rape culture and Holi. This campaign took place after the incident where a balloon filled with semen was thrown at an LSR student near the college.

The campaign started at around 1:30 pm near Lady Shri Ram College. They marched from LSR to Amar Colony carrying posters and shouting slogans. Some of the slogans they chanted were “Semen Go Back”, “Ghoomne ki Azaadi” (Freedom to Roam), and “Pitrisatta se Azaadi” (Freedom from patriarchy). The march was also attended by Guremehar Kaur, who is an activist and an author currently studying at LSR itself.

The march was followed by a speaking session where the co-founder of the organization, Ruth Chwangthu and member Devyani Mahajan talked about the online and offline safety of women and consent. After the completion of the speeches, a public discussion was held on the subject. In one instance, an auto-driver came up to the members and talked about his grievances saying the hardships they need to go through Holi. He said they had to face being hit by balloons filled with semen and even piss. Talking to DU Beat, the co-founder said “Student alliances are fed up with such incidents. We felt like we had to do something. Colleges are not interested in taking action and even if they do, it feels as if they are forced to do so.”

The final event of the campaign was a play called “Dastak” performed by Asmita Theatre Group. The play was based on acid attack victims and sexual harassment. The play too emphasized on the balloon incident. The play was much appreciated by the audience. After the play, one of the members of the theatre group, Mr Sunil Prajapati said “We have been performing such plays since 8 years. We don’t want to perform such plays but certain incidents keep taking place that compels us to perform such plays.” The campaign concluded after the play.

Before the commencement of the campaign, the members of the organization along with the co-founder had to face backlash by a man who spammed the organization’s WhatsApp group and also called them up. After the completion of the campaign, he put up a post on Facebook along with videos targeting them.


Feature Image Credits- Nazariya

Karan Singhania

[email protected]

What happens when someone doesn’t follow gender norms? I recall the day when I wore nail paint to college for the first time.

I have always been fascinated with colours. Whether it is the colours on a dupatta or the colours of a rainbow, I am immediately drawn towards the myriad of tints and shades. I imagine a world without colours would be dark, depressing, and dull. As a teenager, I had embraced my femininity with pride. I dressed to my pleasing and behaved with feminine grace. I was never ashamed of it, nor did anyone make me feel so. After joining the University of Delhi, I experienced greater freedom and hence, one day, I decided to wear nail colour to college.  

I started with an obvious choice, pink! I don’t remember if I was nervous about the stares, the questions, or the judgements, but nonetheless, I starkly remember my anxiety. One of the things I have learned about style is to carry yourself with confidence, even if you have second thoughts. So, I did just that. While travelling in the metro, when a few people gawked at me, I made sure to show off my nail colour more.  That moment felt like my own small rebellion against our regressive society.  

After I got off at the metro station, the auto-drivers made sure to get a better look at the ‘boy’ with the coloured nails. The security guard at my college rhetorically asked me if I was wearing nail paint. To every smirk, question, or stare at my hands, I raised them higher and asked the person, “Ache lag rahe hain na? I’m going to put black next.” Surprisingly, I received several affirmative responses and genuine smiles.

Heteronormativity is a system that encompasses the norms of gender roles, identities, and sexualities. The assumption is that everyone who is cisgender, heterosexual, and performs traditional gender roles is ‘normal’. Homophobia and transphobia are rooted in such a system. Hence, any such assumption of normality becomes problematic.

Due to the prevalent heteronormativity in our society, I expected – and –  encountered some hostile reactions. A classmate shared with my friend that she doesn’t understand why I have to be gender-bending. She believes that I should control my femininity and start to ‘man-up’. Further, she suggested that going to the gym will help. My immediate reaction was that of shock, veiled under a series of hysterical laughter. It made me realise that we have a long way to go before inclusivity becomes the norm. In a step towards the formulation of such a society, I will keep on painting my nails, one colour at a time.


Feature Image Credits:  Mugdha Duinn for DU Beat

Varoon Tuteja

[email protected]

Growing up in a conservative family in Haryana my effeminacy was always discouraged. People often ask each other to stay real, but nobody ever said that to me. In fact, I was always asked to behave like someone I was not.

The shift started when I first came to Delhi in the year 2012. I remember wearing a palazzo and a black, glittery cut-sleeved top with my high heels, framing it as an experiment to ease my anxiety.

Growing up, gender was a confusing concept. I just didn’t get it. It felt like people were sorting other people into just two groups and neither of them worked for me. I had a very difficult childhood because I constantly found myself trapped between the two opposing options – never masculine enough for boys and never feminine enough for girls. After some research and introspection I discovered the word “genderqueer”. Not that it gave me a way to label myself, but at least it told me that I wasn’t the only one who felt this way.

Now, the way I understand my gender is that I am both a man and a woman, and neither a man nor a woman. I am outside these categories. I am Rovin, and Rovin exists outside of society’s heteronormative gender binary. “I wasn’t born in the wrong body, I was born in the wrong world” was what I told myself.

The story goes something like this: Every morning when I wake up and look at my closet I ask myself, “How much do I want to be harassed on the streets today?” You have no idea how walking down the street as our authentic selves can invite so much verbal abuse, or even worse. It is a sad reminder that this world doesn’t live and let live. Before leaving the house every day, I wonder if my lipstick is too dark, or whether my makeup is too loud, in an attempt to reduce the threat of harassment and violence.

We are often erased from history and are told that we are not supposed to exist. But the fact is that I am everywhere around you, it’s just that I am often asked to pick a side. There is hardly a place where we can be who we really are- not in school, not on the streets, not in the metro, not at college, not at work, in fact not even in public restrooms.

For me the question “How do I present my best self at work?” becomes “Can I present my best self at work?” I was told that I am not professional, but I feel I am professional in my own way, a way which most consider alien. “Professionalism” has been my enemy, because it requires that my gender identity is constantly and unrepentantly erased. If you dare to step out of line, you risk being mistreated by coworkers, losing promotions or even losing your job. In fact, I did lose a job- my employers fired me saying that I am “too casual”.

People are constantly told to “act professionally” without a second thought. Wear a garment that represents your non-Western culture to work? Your boss may tell you it’s unprofessional. Wear your hair in braids or dreadlocks instead of straightened? That’s probably unprofessional too. Wear shoes that are slightly scuffed because you can’t yet afford new ones? People may think you’re not being professional enough.

We deserve to have our work ethic and intellect respected regardless of how we choose to express our gender identities. We deserve to be able to wear clothing and behave in ways that affirm our gender. We deserve to be treated fairly in the workplace.

While people may try to discriminate against me and tell me that I’m dressing “inappropriately” for work, I will hold on to my gender identity and sense of self. In the workplace, I will stick up for those who, like me, find that their gender does not match a prefabricated box. I will wear my heels, pearls and skirts to work until, hopefully, the world can learn to respect people like me.

So to all of the discriminatory employers out there, you better watch out, because I am genderqueer, professional and unafraid.

Feature Image: space538.org

Guest Post by Rovin Sharma for DU Beat

(This post first appeared on Pink Pages, a national LGBT magazine)