This article is based on a pamphlet created for the 20th anniversary observations of 'Friendship Walk '99' in Kolkata and Chandannagar on June 29-30, 2019.
Aakash is a former masseur whose love for the carnal is yet to ebb. He loves to travel and explore places, bodies and minds, and at times transgress gender roles. He digs oil massages and sweet foods. He also works for an NGO.
Ajita Banerjie is engaged with research and advocacy on gender and sexuality rights.
Ananya Kar is a life sciences researcher by the day and sometimes at nights, but is always a strong advocate of gender equality and green practices.
Anupam Hazra has a performative gender identity and a multiple wish list – social work, project management, sex work, dancing, painting, making costume jewellery, acting, chewing paan, being drunk . . . unfortunately or thankfully most of the time ze is unable to be and do all of it simultaneously.
Anureet Watta is a 20-year-old poet based in Delhi, trying to juggle their love for poetry, amusement with films and a degree in economics. They are currently running Forbidden Verses, a Delhi-based artists’ collective that seeks to promote local artists and make art more accessible.
Aparajita Dutta is a writer and social activist. Her interests include gender rights, disability rights and football.
Arunabha Hazra is a young event manager with an eye for the good things in life – music, cinema, food, beverages and more! He can be contacted at email@example.com.
Asmita Ghosh recently graduated from IIT Madras with a Master's in English Studies and enjoys singing, puppies and awkwardly maneuvering out of social situations.
Avinaba Dutta is an independent gender and sexuality researcher and policy analyst focussed on issues related to human rights violations. He has worked with several rights-based organizations in India, Brazil, Canada, South Africa, USA and Europe in order to push for adoption of inclusive policies.
Bana is a health worker and community organizer working with SAATHII to mobilise lesbian, bi women and trans masculine communities in Odisha since 2016, and to facilitate access to information, crisis support and services around healthcare and social welfare schemes.
Boicha Huidrom is pursuing Master's in Public Policy and Governance at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad. He is passionate about studying the role of institutions in conflict resolution and social justice. He is also an avid photography enthusiast.
Bonita Pebam has been involved in working for the sake of queer communities in Manipur since 2008. She is based in Imphal and associated with transgender community group All Manipur Nupi Maanbi Association (AMaNA) and NGO SAATHII.
Brindaalakshmi K. is a researcher working at the intersections of gender, sexuality and technology. She is currently working on a study titled 'Gendering of Development Data: Beyond the Binary' with the Centre for Internet & Society, Bangalore.
Chand is a development practitioner and researcher. They are associated with the Centre for Queer and Transgender Studies, the research and policy wing of PLEQSUS INDIA FOUNDATION, Kolkata.
Chandan Kumar Nayak works with SAATHII in its Bhubaneswar office and is associated with the LGBTIQA movement as an ally. He is passionate about exploring places and blogging.
Chandrima Mukhopadhyay is pursuing MA in English Literature at Jadavpur University to satiate her love for literature. She is an avid reader, art enthusiast, occasional translator and certified citizen historian at the 1947 Partition Archive.
Chintan Girish Modi is a writer, educator and researcher who tweets @chintan_connect.
Danish Sheikh is a consultant on sexual orientation and gender identity with the International Commission of Jurists, and teaches courses on the intersections of law and literature at law schools across India.
Debayan N. Sen is a lawyer and a believer in celebrating free human life. Write in your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will be answered with due respect to confidentiality.
Debjyoti Ghosh is a human rights lawyer originally from Kolkata, India, and now based in Johannesburg, South Africa. He is involved in queer rights activism and has also worked on issues of HIV/AIDS, women and children. His SJD/PhD dissertation focussed on transgender rights in India, Brazil and South Africa, and his primary interest areas are constitutionalism, queer rights, minority rights, and citizenship. He is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Sociology, University of Pretoria, South Africa.
Diksha Sanyal graduated in law from the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences in 2016. She has previously worked as a Research Fellow with Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy, Delhi and the Centre for Law and Policy Research, Bangalore.
This article is based on a media release issued by national level disability rights organizations in India.
Dr. A. Sathish Kumar works at SAATHII, Chennai, and has more than 15 years of experience in projects on HIV, TB, mother and child health, and LGBTIQA+ issues. His work includes integrating LGBTIQA+ concerns into the general health systems in India.
Dr. Kaustav Bakshi is Assistant Professor, Department of English, Jadavpur University. His latest books include, 'Popular Cinema in Bengal: Genre, Stars, Public Culture' (Routledge, 2020), 'Queer Studies: Texts, Contexts, Praxis' (Orient Blackswan, 2019), and 'Rituparno Ghosh: Cinema, Gender and Art' (Routledge, 2015).
Dr. Mukut Bhowmik is a dancer, doctor, public health official and an individual interested in protecting human rights.
Dr. Nandini Ghosh is an academic-activist working on issues of gender, disability and other forms of marginalization. She is at present a faculty member at the Institute of Development Studies Kolkata.
Duncan Rice is the Director of Helen O’Grady Drama Academy Africa and lives in Durban in South Africa. He is a frequent visitor to Kolkata to assist with the operations of Helen O’Grady Drama Academy India. Using drama, he works with many specially-abled children throughout Africa and India, giving them a means to release their innate creativity.
Hari Chettri works as an HIV activist in Darjeeling and loves to capture the beauty of his home town with the camera.
Heena identifies as a transgender woman, lives in Kalyani town in the Nadia district of West Bengal, and has been associated with queer support forum Nadia Ranaghat Sampriti Society since its inception in 2012 as its Treasurer.
Ishan Chakraborty is Assistant Professor in the Department of English, Jadavpur University. He is pursuing PhD from the same department. His areas of interest include Tagore, theatre, 19th century and disability studies. He will be glad to address any query at email@example.com.
Jia Mata is a freelance writer-translator, part time soft skills trainer, and part time activist. As a parent of a 12-year old, Jia is attempting to raise the child in a feminist, queer friendly, trans friendly, non judgmental and rights based manner.
Joyita Mondal is a transgender social worker based in Islampur in North Bengal. She has been committed to transgender community development since 2006. Storytelling on issues around gender is her newfound passion.
Kaushik Gupta is a lawyer by profession, a photographer by passion, and happy to answer your queries on legal matters around gender and sexuality. Write in your queries to firstname.lastname@example.org, and they will be answered with due respect to confidentiality.
Kaustav Manna, a graduate in psychology, is a photography enthusiast and freelance writer.
Kolkata Rainbow Pride Festival (KRPF) is an open collective of individuals, networks and organizations, which believes that sexuality is a key element of human existence, fulfillment and enjoyment. They hold that no individual, community or section of society should face stigma, discrimination or violence because of their gender and sexuality. KRPF deploys a variety of art forms, media and mass awareness activities to generate the dialogue necessary to achieve its objectives. Each year KRPF takes the lead in mobilizing participation for the ‘Kolkata Rainbow Pride Walk’.
Koyel Khan is a sociologist. Her primary academic interests are in gender, sexualities, globalization, and human rights. She is committed to working for social justice.
Mandeep Raikhy is a dancer and choreographer based out of New Delhi. He pursued his BA (Honours) in Dance Theatre at Laban, London, and worked with the Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, London for several years. He has created three full-length works, 'Inhabited Geometry' (2010), 'A Male Ant has Straight Antennae' (2013) and 'Queen-size' (2016). Mandeep divides his time between creating and touring his artistic work, and being a dance administrator at Gati Dance Forum.
Marc Ohrem-Leclef is a German based in Brooklyn, New York and collaborates with communities – whether they are formed by bloodlines, social circumstance or cultural movement – to generate visibility for people and issues lacking representation. A MacDowell Colony Fellow (2018), his photographs and film have been exhibited in Brazil, Germany, India, Spain, UK and USA; his work is held in collection of Museo de Arte do Rio (Brazil), and reviewed in publications such as 'Artnews', 'Artforum', 'British Journal of Photography', 'Der Spiegel', 'Hyperallergic' and 'Slate'.
Mark Heywood is co-founder Treatment Action Campaign and Director, SECTION27.
Mihika Poddar is a final year law student at the West Bengal National University of Juridical Sciences, Kolkata. She takes a keen interest in human rights, gender and sexuality based issues.
Namrata Mukherjee is a lawyer by training. Her areas of interest include gender, sexuality and law, and socio-economic rights.
Nazia Khan is a photographer, traveller, storyteller and filmmaker from Kolkata, currently based in Mumbai. Documenting time through the camera is her zeal.
Nikita Kabra is a to-be dance movement practitioner, avid reader, expressionist writer and a human rights champion. They’re also a die-hard runner with a strictly healthy diet and soft corner for desserts.
Nilanjan Majumdar is a medical laboratory technologist. He is also an amateur radio (ham) operator and a passionate photographer who has been photo-documenting the queer movement in Kolkata for the last 10 years.
Nitin Karani believes in both social and economic liberty of the individual as well as a small State. He writes on LGBT issues in both print and digital media in his leisure time. He used to blog at queerindia.blogspot.com.
Oinam Hemabati is a trans man activist and leads Empowering Trans Ability, a support forum for lesbians, bisexual women and trans men in Manipur. He is passionate about karate, and lives with Sonia, his partner of 15 years, in Imphal.
owais calls himself the ‘sucker for love’ – for knowingly, he not only trusts, but lives on that rainbow which does not actually exist.
Pallav Bonerjee is Consultant Clinical Psychologist at VIMHANS Hospital, New Delhi. Whenever stressed, he never fails to spend some time with his own therapist, who has a wet, black nose and goes by the name of Copper!
Pawan Dhall aspires to be a rainbow journalist and believes in taking a stand, even if it’s on the fence – the view is better from there!
Pompi Banerjee is a psychologist and works with an NGO for their health rights programme. She identifies as queer, gender fluid and kinky, and is a member of Kinky Collective. On her holidays she’s either glued to books or out and about – organizing or taking part in events on gender and sexuality rights. She will be happy to answer more queries on consent issues sent to email@example.com (confidentiality assured).
Pradosh Dash is 24 years old, gay, feminist and engaged in queer activism in Odisha. He aspires to work on digital media communication on LGBTIQA rights, male sexual abuse, toxic masculinity, menstruation and other social taboos.
When not researching Parkinson’s disease as part of his PhD from the University of Calcutta, Prosenjit Pal is busy with poetry, painting, music, films, bird watching and admiring trees.
Queer Friendly Lawyers Network – West Bengal is a legal advocacy initiative of Varta Trust, Kolkata to bring together lawyers, paralegal workers, teachers and students of law, human rights workers and legal aid agencies to develop an effective response system against the rights violations faced by queer people in West Bengal. QFLN – West Bengal can be contacted at www.facebook.com/groups/qfln.westbengal or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article is based on a media release prepared collectively by various queer individuals and groups across India.
RACSHA is a Kolkata-based network of organisations and individuals working for prevention, recognition, addressing and healing of victims and survivors of child sexual abuse.
Rafiquel Haque Dowjah’s love for the performing and visual arts, deep interest in Bangla, and photography and communication skills have lasted him in good stead since his younger days. He has been involved in queer activism since the mid 1990s, and is pursuing his desire to create queer-themed audio-visual material. He works in communication management in a queer-friendly corporate in Mumbai.
RAHI Foundation is a centre for women survivors of incest and child sexual abuse based in Delhi and Kolkata. It has been working since 1996 to end incest/child sexual abuse and address its long-term impact on women survivors. Write in your queries to email@example.com, and they will be answered with due respect to confidentiality.
Rajib Chakrabarti teaches English and hopes that scientific rationalism and secular ethics will one day replace religious dogma.
Ranjay Sarkar is studying art in Kolkata and loves to spend time on the banks of Teesta River near his home.
Rith Das is a photography enthusiast based in Kolkata.
Rudra Kishore Mandal is a painter and freelance graphic designer and calls his artistic quest 'Rudrascape' (rudrascape.blogspot.in).
Sadam Hanjabam is Founder Director, Ya_All, a queer and allies youth network based in Imphal. He set up Meitram, an inclusive and integrated co-working space for youth, which also serves as a short stay home for queer individuals facing crisis at home or elsewhere, and Free Youth Café, which is run by queer youth in Imphal. He is also a PhD scholar at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai.
Sampoorna India is a network of trans and intersex Indians around the globe.
Santa Khurai is a queer activist and champion of transgender rights based in Manipur. She is associated with civil society organizations All Manipur Nupi Maanbi Association (AMaNA) and Solidarity and Action Against The HIV Infection in India (SAATHII). Writing poems and stories on queer issues is one of her many passions.
Sayan Bhattacharya likes to believe that he writes for pleasure but pursuing a PhD means that pleasure is always difficult if not impossible. He can be praised, criticized or consoled at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sayantan Datta is a queer feminist activist and poet.
Shampa Sengupta is a Kolkata-based activist working on gender and disability issues for more than 25 years. She is the founder of an advocacy group called Sruti Disability Rights Centre and is Joint Secretary, National Platform for Rights of the Disabled. She will be happy to answer your queries on disability and related issues. Write in your queries to email@example.com, and they will be answered with due respect to confidentiality.
Shilpi Bhattacharya is an Assistant Professor at O. P. Jindal Global University. She received her PhD in law and economics from the Erasmus University Rotterdam in 2016. She is also a founding member of GNE Myopathy International and in her spare time advocates for greater awareness of rare diseases and GNE myopathy.
Shivalal Gautam is 28, gay, engaged in queer activism in Guwahati, and derives the strongest sense of contentment and achievement in being able to help other queer individuals.
Shruti Janardhan studied Bachelor's in Literature from Hindu College, University of Delhi and aspires to become an investigative journalist.
Shubhrajit Roy researches Wilson’s disease and spends his free time drawing and sketching.
Siddhartha Sankar believes in using art and creativity to express the unspoken and give voice to the marginalized sections of society. He has studied travel and tourism, worked in the corporate sector and is currently engaged with pocket filmmaking projects.
Soma Roy Karmakar passionately believes in gender equality and women’s empowerment. She works on issues of child sexual abuse with RAHI Foundation, Kolkata.
Srabasti Majumdar is a Kolkata-based psychological counsellor and gender and sexuality rights activist.
Dr. Subhamita Maitra has a PhD in Neuroscience and is an Indian classical dance exponent specialized in Odissi. She aims to connect her knowledge and skills to establish the contribution of dance in developing the human mind.
Subhojit Banerjea is a professional photographer interested in any kind of shoot.
Subhradeep Chatterjee completed MA in English Literature from Jadavpur University. He holds a degree in BA (English) from Presidency University, Kolkata, and was the student convener of two of the entrepreneurship summits during his time there. A former tech blogger, his interests include film making, graphic designing, composing music and travelling. His research interests include romanticism, disabilities studies, visual culture, and Persian and Urdu literature.
Suchandra Ganguly is a Paralympic sports, disability, gender and sexuality rights activist. She is a founding member of Civilian Welfare Foundation, a youth social work venture. Stereotype breaker, philanthropist, realist and independent are her favourite personal adjectives.
Suchetana Sengupta is a student, wishes to pursue clinical psychology, seeks respite from the trials and tribulations of life in writing.
Sudeb Sadhu is a transgender community mobilizer, activist and actor, and lives in Bongaon and Baruipur in West Bengal.
Sudha Jha is a social worker and has been working on human rights issues for more than a decade. Justice for the marginalized is her motto.
Sudipa Chakraborty is a transgender social worker. She lives in Kolkata and has been engaged with the sexual health, mental health and social justice concerns of LGBTIQA+ people in India since 1998.
Sujoy is 39, Bengalee, based in Bangalore. He has a creative bent of mind, is an occasional blogger, avid reader, movie lover, and enjoys travel. He had polio in childhood and identifies as a queer-disabled man. He is an active member of a disability awareness group in Bangalore.
Sukanta Banerjee identifies as genderqueer and is associated with queer support group Amitie’ Trust which works in the Hooghly and Howrah districts of West Bengal. Ze is part of sexual health projects supported by India HIV/AIDS Alliance, Delhi, and is fond of music and travelling.
Sukhdeep Singh is a Facebook addict who works as a software engineer by day and transforms into a writer at night. He is the founder and editor of 'Gaylaxy' magazine.
Utsa Ghosh is a final year student of MA in English at Jadavpur University. She is an ardent Netflixer and cook when she's not debating on politics, writing academic papers or pursuing food for thought.
Vaaswat Sarkar is a student of English literature at Jadavpur University. His interests include languages, performance art, writing, football and chess.
Vahista Dastoor wields the camera to get her point across when she is not documenting child rights, mental health or gender related issues.
Vivek Divan is qualified in the law and queerness. He has been involved in HIV- and queer-related activism for almost two decades, including critical community mobilization around the Naz Foundation (India) Trust petition against Section 377 as Coordinator of Lawyers Collective – HIV/AIDS Unit, 2000-07.
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