Queerala, one of the most popular communities working for LGBTQI+ rights in Kerala, plans to launch a YouTube channel to welcome its 5th year of operations in the state.
The YouTube channel titled ‘Q-be-you’ will serve as a visual archive of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity along with reference documentation from areas of medical science and mental health, culture and visibility etc.
Affirming that there was a need to document the voices and inspiring lives of sexual and gender minorities in the state, Queerala’s fundraising page stated that the channel will be launched in May 2018 and money is being crowdfunded for the same.
“When it comes to documenting gender diversity and sexual orientation experiences, it is important that we go beyond just narrating personal anecdotes and citing data, there needs to be a visual impact. That is where this YouTube channel becomes crucial,” Jijo Kuriakose tells TNM
The community which is currently in the process of crowdfunding the project feels that there are many others outside of the community too who could really make an impact with videos.
“Many doctors, journalists and parents can help dispel certain stereotypes about the community by spreading awareness through shot videos. This will help inform others. Further, several media organisations use offensive terms to describe LGBTQI+ members, like “unnatural acts” etc. This has to change and it can be done by getting sensitive media persons to speak about it. This is the kind of visual impact that we are trying to bring about,” Jijo added.
The purpose of the channel is to archive diversity within the community says Jijo.
“Visual documentation of gender diversity and sexual orientation is not present in the Malayali context, despite conversations happening around it frequently. For instance, there is quite a bit of literature on transgender women but very little on trans men. It’s like transgender persons are only trans women which is not true,” he said
Apart from his, the archive would also be of great use for academic purposes.
“If I have to go and lecture about transgender rights to someone, today I can only narrate anecdotes and show PPTs. This is boring and it would be much better to use short clips to educate them on LGBTQI+ people and their rights,” he said.
“It is very important that we start a YouTube channel, with videos both in English and Malayalam, of professionals in the fields of mental health, legal experts and activists who can impart the right knowledge on the issues faced by queer people. This might stop young Malayali queer people from migrating, running away, or in the worst case committing suicides,” said Vihaan Peethambar, board member of Queerala.
The community also aims to use the crowdfunded money to organise a queer art exhibition in the state called 'Metamorphosis' which will include art exhibits, event promotions and cultural evenings.