Crushing the taboo on homosexuality: An interview with author Nemat Sadat

Nemat Sadat is an author of Afghan heritage who lives in the United States of America. He identifies as gay and ex-Muslim. His incredible openness in talking about love, racism and geopolitics moved me as much as the characters in his novel The Carpet Weaver. The book was published earlier this year by Penguin Random House … More Crushing the taboo on homosexuality: An interview with author Nemat Sadat

A mental health resource for the LGBTQIA+ community

In July 2019, the Bangalore-based White Swan Foundation for Mental Health published an e-book titled Mental Health 101: LGBTQIA+ Edition. It is a useful resource that has been diligently put together for readers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, or as belonging to the wider LGBTQIA+ community, or as allies. I … More A mental health resource for the LGBTQIA+ community

Article 370 and the Reorganisation of Kashmir: A Teachable Moment

Your students (or kids) may have missed the news about the security build-up and the rising tensions in Kashmir over the last week. They cannot possibly miss the headlines about the amendment of Article 370 and the reorganisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, however. Around them, people are bound to be talking about … More Article 370 and the Reorganisation of Kashmir: A Teachable Moment

There is no one way of being queer: On straight-passing, queer labour and stigma management strategies in India

This is the second part of my interview with Dr. Ketki Ranade, Assistant Professor and Chairperson at the Centre for Health and Mental Health at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences in Mumbai.  They prefer to be addressed as KP, and use the pronoun ‘they’. If you are in the process of unlearning conventional pronoun … More There is no one way of being queer: On straight-passing, queer labour and stigma management strategies in India

Coming Out in India: Questioning Western Psychological Models of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Identity Development with Dr. Ketki Ranade

In February and March 2019, I was part of the inaugural class of the Mariwala Health Initiative’s Certificate Course in Queer Affirmative Counselling Practice in Mumbai. We were a group of mental health professionals, social workers and educators who had signed up to learn about queer affirmative practice, which is geared towards supporting clients who … More Coming Out in India: Questioning Western Psychological Models of Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Identity Development with Dr. Ketki Ranade

“Traditionally, LGBT stories have a history of tragic endings. I’m never doing that!”

Of all that I have read in the first quarter of 2019, Payal Dhar’s Slightly Burnt is the book that has touched me the most. I wish I had found it earlier. Perhaps books about queer people are pushed away to the margins of the publishing business just as queer people are made to feel like the … More “Traditionally, LGBT stories have a history of tragic endings. I’m never doing that!”

“I wanted to be true to what I felt rather than be able to tick boxes about the LGBTQ community.”

One of the biggest challenges that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer students in India face is the near absence of people like themselves in the books they read and movies they watch. The situation today is better than it was 10 years ago but there is a lot to be done. Why? Well, being … More “I wanted to be true to what I felt rather than be able to tick boxes about the LGBTQ community.”

Building empathy through sexuality education

This is the first in a series of blog posts emerging out of my research project as a Shanti Fellow with the Prajnya Trust’s Education for Peace Initiative. My aim is to create and compile a variety of resources that would benefit educators in India working to create safe and supportive spaces for LGBTQ/queer students. Meet Vishwa Srivastava … More Building empathy through sexuality education

Gender and Peace: Reflections from a Workshop at the South Asian Youth Conference 2018

From December 13 to 17, 2018, I was at the South Asian Youth Conference (SAYC) in Mumbai hosted by the Blue Ribbon Movement with financial support from the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development. My fellow participants came from India, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. What I … More Gender and Peace: Reflections from a Workshop at the South Asian Youth Conference 2018