Two IIMs, three IITs, BITS Pilani and IISc Bengaluru are coming together to organise this campaign.

This June top tech colleges bring together LGBTQI community members to answer your questionsPhoto: PTI
news LGBTQ+ Monday, May 29, 2017 - 15:09

Are sex and gender the same thing? What’s the fuss about section 377? Who are transgender persons?  These are just some of the questions that people all around us have. 

And it is no secret that few want to voice them and fewer have the right answers. Half-baked knowledge about the LGBTQI community usually results in prejudices and reinforces social stigmas. 

In a bid to tackle stereotypes about the community and to educate people about issues of sex, gender, sexuality, identity and more, some of India’s premier institutes have planned a month-long online campaign: ‘Queer pe charcha’ (Discussion on ‘queer’).

LGBTQI community members from two IIMs (Kozhikode and Ahmedabad), three IITs (Mumbai, Kanpur, Kharagpur and Gandhinagar), BITS Pilani and IISc Bengaluru, students as well as alumni, will take questions from social media users this June, which is also the LGBTQI Pride month.

Himanshu Singh, member of Umeed, the LGBTQI collective of IIM Kozhikode, and one of the organisers, told TNM that they would be covering one topic each day. The campaign would involve Q&A sessions, livestreams on social media and 1-2 infographics explaining a particular topic on each day.

Courtesy Umeed - IIM Kozhikode/Facebook

“We don’t want to give people more information than what they can digest, hence we will have streamlined topics and limited infographics. We also want to harness social media to reach out to more people than merely the students,” he said.

The idea for organising such a campaign struck Himanshu after he saw people’s questions when he came out as gay in October 2016 through a viral Facebook post. “There were questions about my genitalia and cues towards corrective rape. People wanted to know if being gay was “natural”. And the questions came from well-educated people,” he points out.

While Himanshu received support from his alma mater, that may not be the case for many. For instance, getting the institutes on board for these collaborations was quite the task, he admits. “In many institutions, the LGBTQI collectives aren’t as active or the administration is not very supportive,” he said.

The topics for each day will be decided by community members as well as experts and activists. One such person on board is Harish Iyer, an equal rights activist who is also openly gay.

You can watch the 'Queer pe Charcha’s' introductory video here:

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