Varta Trust organizational logo: The word ‘Varta’ written out in black colour in a bold stylized typeface in all capitals on a white background. The text is inside a rectangle finely outlined in black. The first ‘A’ in ‘Varta’ is affixed with the graphic of a bugle on top. The bugle faces to the right, and breaks the rectangular outline where it sticks out above the logo lettering. Tagline below the logo says "Gender, Sexuality, Intimacy, Publishing". Logo artwork credit: Rudra Kishore Mandal

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Amid pandemic of struggles, no lockdown on aspirations

By Shivalal Gautam

In the first of a series of paired narratives of queer lives during the lockdown in Assam, Shivalal Gautam brings you the stories of two queer men
This graphic is a combination of a photograph and an extract from the accompanying article. The photograph to the left of the graphic shows a daytime long shot of an empty and calm Guwahati city street during the ongoing lockdown. Only a cyclist and a couple of pedestrians can be seen on the road some distance away (moving away from the photographer). The road has a verdant canopy of trees and several buildings can be seen in the background, across the road. The extract says: “In Raj’s case, his family is at least aware of his gender identity. But for Madhav, talking about his sexual orientation to his family of farmers and daily wage earners seems impossible. Just like with Raj, chances are that his family too will disown him. For now he prefers to live in peace, dreams of learning 'Bollywood dance' so that he can be a professional dancer some day, and desires to have a same-sex partner. Raj desires stability and wants him and his wife Meena to be accepted by his family. He wishes for an inclusive workplace and a regular source of income so that he can provide for Meena’s needs and focus on his own gender affirmation surgery and aftercare.” Photo credit: Indranee Kalita
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