Posted By Shreya Bansal
Artwork by Megha Luthra
The LGBTQI movement and dalit, anti – caste movement in India are movements that have grown out of considerable struggle and effort. Both these groups have time and again tried to challenge Brahminical and heteronormative traditions on their own respective platforms.
The discrminitation of an individual identifying with the LGBTQI comunity comes both from the state in the form article 377, in the form of social ridicule and segregation, unavailibilty of jobs, safe educational spaces and basic freedom to choose their sexuality. The discrimination on the basis of caste comes more from the societal notions of caste and the state is only implicitly, and lately explicitly, discriminatory in its lack of action in protecting individuals on the ground level.
India has had a long history of dealing with issues of class discrimination and bias. The LGBTQ community on the other hand, was for a very long time underrepresented because it was felt that not enough people identify with the community and that it was a notion of the western world. With more and more people coming out to share their stories and experiences, the movement has gained considerable momentum. Safe spaces have emerged that have seen the participation of many LGBTQ individuals as well as allies.
However, the caste inclusiveness of these spaces has been in question constantly. As pride is being celebrated in more and more cities, its solidarity with the anti-caste movement is still very fragile. While dealing with one form of discrimination, have we sidelined another important form of discrimination? How safe would a safe space be for dalit queer individual who’s caste impacts their day to life as much as their sexuality ? Would a non- English speaking individual be as accepted as any other English speaking millennial? As we ask hetrosexual folks to understand their privilege have we in fact forgotten to let go off our privilege that allows us to paint our faces in rainbows?
The experiences of a person, belonging to a caste that is discriminated against, as an LGBTQIA individual will be very different from someone who has to pay a negligible price for their opinions and activism. It does little justice for us to appropriate how each and every experience is shared and felt.
Our hashtags, social media marketing, slam poetry sessions in expensive cafes and of course, parades are enough to cause a revolution but it’s essential to ask if each and every dalit- bahujan queer finds a space in this revolution.