At a psychology internship, I came across boy X, who had come all the way to this hospital, lying to the parents of his whereabouts and with the money his grandmom had given him as a reward for achieving good marks. He was anxious and distressed but spoke with full courage about his struggles with accepting his identity, unacceptance of his sexuality by his parents, his mental health being ignored and his two-year-long battle with depression. As his story unfolded further, he managed to hold back his tears, but I realised how important it is to make people aware of several organisations working for the LGBTQ+ community so that you do not fall short of people, support or love!
The Naz Foundation (India) Trust
In a landmark judgement in Naz Foundation v Gov of NCT of Delhi case, they fought against Section 377. This foundation works towards the outreach, counselling, medical treatment and legal support. This foundation also works towards destigmatising the LGBTQ community. Their outreach programme provides information on safer sex practices and HIV and AIDS STI/ STD. Naz Clinic provides HIV testing and STD treatments. Counselling is extended to bisexual, homosexual and transgender individuals where they can talk about problems or are provided, support groups. They further host regular check-ups for members to attend. Their Milan Project targeted the involvement of these marginalised people and aimed to provide them with equal opportunity.
Doctors visit the Naz Office on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6 pm to 7 pm.
Helpline: +91 11 26321830
Hours are Monday to Saturday- 9:30 A.M. to 5 P.M. Address: India Office A-86 East of Kailash
The Delhi University Queer Collective
Founded by Rafiul Alom Rahman in 2014 and with a humble beginning with about 4-5 people today it has members across 40 colleges in the University. It now organises parades, campaigns meetups, open mics and were the first on-campus LGBTQ support group. On speaking to the Citizen he said, “I remember back in 2014 when I presented a paper in St Stephen’s College and when I was doing the research, looking at how queer Muslim navigate their sexual and religious identities, there was hardly any material or contemporary documents available on LGBTQ Muslims…So that time I realized whole research needs to be done in this area.” It started from Facebook where they posted articles, videos and any resource on the same.
Their #Write4pride in 2017 gained a lot of traction due to the number of people who were able to open up about their experiences of accepting themselves. They also launched a Zero Tolerance Campaign against violence towards their community and its members. Multiple editions of the Parents and Relatives of Queer Persons Meet have also been organised by them.
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: DU Queer Collective
The Queer Muslim Project
Founded by Rafiul Alom Rahman in 2017, it began as online space for conversations and exchange of experiences, ideas and information and discussions regarding the LGBTQ community. Rahman quit his PhD on the queer Muslim community at Texas University when he realised that there was a dearth of information on LGBTQ Muslims in India.
This organisation focuses on the struggles of two marginalised communities queers and Muslims. Their nuanced identities put them at a greater disadvantage where they face homophobia and Islamophobia. And so it aims to cater to people suffering from this discrimination through spreading awareness, campaigns and other aid.
They have organised events like ‘Do It Yourself’ Islam or DIY Islam, where queer Muslims express their experiences both good and bad. Also, TQMP along with Aneka trust held the first Muslim consultation in 2018.
Their ‘Spirit of Ramadan’ campaign, this year during the month of Ramadan was a remarkable attempt towards using both these identities as a strength and helping others by sharing your own stories. They posted these responses on their Instagram in relation to the spirit of this auspicious time to highlight self-acceptance, love and faith.
Email: [email protected]
Bi Collective Delhi
A Resource group and support group for bisexual, bi+, bicurious and pansexual individuals. They aim to provide a safe space to these people that it serves. It is a recent addition to the Agents of Ishq (AOI) list of Queer Support Resources. They organise several film screenings, meetups, workshops such as those on sexuality and multiplicity.
Their website describes their aim as, “Curiosity and questions regarding bisexual behaviour, experiences, politics and identity are appreciated. A respectful and frank discussion on these is what we seek to foster and encourage both within the group and in other spaces.”
They also have a Bi-Collective Library or a mini library, which completed a year of its launch on 22nd this month. It aims to bring you close to queer literature, relationships and other natural experiences of every individual and not just readings and reports on HIV, AIDS and injustices against the community. This mini-library provides books on bisexuality for individuals trying to understand themselves better. These books include fiction, non-fiction, film screenplays, reports, journals, and much more.
Email: [email protected]
All India Queer Association
“For the queer community, by the queer community”
Started by Meghna Mehra to collectivise the LGBTIA+ members in India. Their blog provides news, articles, views on issues relating to this community. Their blog also provides content in Hindi. AIQA has an active Instagram page with 3000+ followers, educating people on sexuality, crimes against the LGBTQ community, identities, important personalities and events, safe sex, anxiety, the role of politics and the law. It also celebrates events like Ambedkar Jayanti with nukkad natak and interactive talks. They also celebrated pride month by creating awareness about different identities. They also frequently post stories of individuals coming out and their experiences in dealing with the same.
Each write-up reflects the efforts of their group of hardworking individuals. This queer union is not limited to Delhi and can be found and joined in several cities.
Nazariya: A Queer Feminist Resource Group
This organisation is based in the capital and organises talks, workshops, film screenings, discussions and book launches. It also initiates training on gender, feminism, issues concerning lesbians and bisexual women. This group has a very active Facebook page with details of almost all happening affecting this community updated on its page.
In an attempt to create a safe space for all this group has also opened a resource centre on 22nd May, this year. It includes a library to access any resource, film archives and the feature to chat with them regarding problems or to just talk!
They also provide free counselling from Mondays to Fridays.
Helpline Number: 7291012585, between 10 am to 6 pm Address: Pocket L 18C Triveni Residents Welfare Association Sheikh Sarai Phase 2 New Delhi – 110017. Nearest Metro Station is Chirag Dilli. Facebook: Nazariya- A Queer Feminist Resource Group
Started in 2012 by Vinay Kumar, Harmless Hugs today has 7.5 thousand members in its community across India. It focusses on community building activities. And they host a variety of events throughout the year like the Queer Holi event, the Delhi International Queer Theatre and Film Festival (DIQTFF) and the LGBTQ Flash Mob. They also work towards the health of these communities’ members through regular workshops on health, STI/STDs. On a regular basis, they also organise workshops and Harmless Hugs meets. In the event of legal emergencies, they also connect you with a number of NGOs associated with them. They also organise the Hum Tum Carnival, celebrating togetherness.
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Harmless Hugs
Delhi Queer Festival
Is an arts festival held at the Max Mueller Bhavan in the month of December, last year was its fourth community-funded event. It involves discussions, poetry readings, open mic, film screening with Director Priya Sen other panellists included Bikram Bindra with talks on queerness, their history, accomplishments, their conditions in public places.
“Queerfest believes queer to be identity, form, narrative, verb, counter-norms, relations, and oppositional practices that challenge dominant ways of seeing, reading, and being in the world that are exclusionary and enforced”, reads their description.
It covers a myriad of areas concerning the LGBTQ+ community including love, caste, marriage, inheritance, educations, laws, public places to name a few.
Educational Institutes outside of Delhi have also taken a step towards acceptance of this community by establishing collectives. In 2018, the Queer Collective of Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai, announced the establishment of its gender-neutral hostels on campus. These are the first ever in India.
Queer And Gender Advancement Alliance Roorkee (QAGAAR) is the queer and gender support group of IIT Roorkee. IIT Kharagpur has a very active LGBT group called Ambar. Ambar has hosted Queer Film Festivals and has also invited the queer community for interactions. Saathi is the queer community at IIT Bombay.
Other active groups within Delhi also exist. Queer Collective is present at National Law University, Delhi. Even schools, like Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar have a group called Breaking Barriers. Ambedkar University, Delhi has a Queer Collective and organises a fest which includes conversations, documentary screenings, discussions on health and stage performances. More recently, Ashoka University announced that it is opening its first gender-neutral washrooms due to the efforts of the Feminist Collective and other bodies. Kirori Mal College of Delhi University also has a queer platform.
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat