The members have kickstarted an online fund raising campaign on Ketto.org to raise enough funds that will pay for an office space in Ernakulam.

Queerala an LGBTQ community in Kerala needs a working space and needs help
news Online campaign Wednesday, March 15, 2017 - 19:30

“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” -Helen Keller

Jijo Kuriakose, founder member of Queerala, a support group for the members of LGBTQ community, would tell you how true this saying is. 

Queerala, a collective that works for the welfare of members of the LGBTQ+ community turns four this month. On their four-year birthday, Queerala, that has supported the community members in Kerala, is looking to establish a working space out of Ernakulam. 

Although Queerala began as a private Orkut group four years ago, they have grown into a full-fledged support system for the community members, with nearly 450 registered members. 

After working like a helpline for the community members for the past couple of years by organizing seminars and discussions, Queerala has decided to focus on strengthening its activities. 

Privacy, Jijo says, is the main factor that triggered the necessity for an office space for Queerala.

The members have kickstarted an online fund raising campaign on Ketto.org to raise enough funds that will pay for an office space in Ernakulam and for a couple of computer systems.

“As part of our operations, we get regular enquiries from members of the community, who seek various assistance including counseling. Ever since we began operations, we have been meeting members at public places like the Marine Drive or in coffee shops. Our customary monthly meetings are held in the residences of the members itself. This is not a sustainable model, as issues including that of privacy crop up. For a person who approaches us for counseling, it is our responsibility to provide them with the safety of four walls, especially for gender non-conforming individuals,” Jijo says.

More than all this, the office set up will mean that the community will be able to expand its services.

“The 450-odd registered members of the community are people who have self-acceptance and do not mind having their sexual orientation made public. However, if you look at our online community, there are more than 5000 members, many who have joined us without revealing their identity. The office space will be able to address all these issues and help us reach out to more members who need support,” Jijo said.

The office will also have a library that is a collection of rare literature on LGBTQ issues, research papers and scholarly articles on the subject. A space for the members to creatively work out of, is what Queerala wants to achieve, Jijo explains.

The members are now in the process of identifying possible spaces from which they could work out of.

“We are considering a couple of houses in and around Ernakulam and to set up a few computer systems in the office. We have taken into account the kind of rent that we would have to pay for the space and other related expense including paying salary to the staff,” Jijo said.

Queerala had, in December last year, carried out a similar fund raiser to fund a seminar held in Thiruvananthapuram. Having organized the seminar with 90% fund collected from the online fund raising campaign, Jijo is positive that the collective would get as much support this time around too.

The campaign has so far been able to raise nearly Rs 60,000, but there's a long way to go, before they could reach their target. You can contribute and help Queerala set up an office space. Click here to contribute. 

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