Queer intentions: Activist Jaymin Dalal on empowering India’s queer communities
In this podcast, Shoreditch House member Ryan Lanji talks to the LGBTQIA+ activist about the slow evolution of queer culture in India since it was decriminalised in 2018
By Anish Patel Artwork by Aravani Art Project
In September 2018, India’s Supreme Court overturned Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code; a 19th-century colonial-era rule that criminalised gay sex. The repeal instantly made law-abiding citizens out of 140 million Indians who had formerly been threatened with 10-year prison sentences for exercising their sexual preferences. It was a landmark victory for the country’s queer folk, who took to the streets in rainbow flags to celebrate their newfound freedom.
Yet, nearly three years on from those celebration parades, and in the midst of a pandemic, India’s queer community is still struggling with social acceptance and the fight for equal rights. In this podcast, Ryan Lanji, founder of Hungama (east London’s queer Bollywood night) talks to Jaymin Dalal, an LGBTQIA+ activist and cofounder of Salvation Star and Samavesh Chamber of Commerce – two initiatives that work to create safe spaces for India’s queer community. Together, they discuss what needs to change in the cultural mainstream before queer people can truly feel empowered and embraced.