Queer Academia is an initiative under Mendlife Foundation, that seeks to create a space for amplifying queer voices in the Indian academic discourse. Owing to a largely hetero-patriarchal society, the queer discourse in India is sparse and limited. Apart from a few cosmopolitan urban spaces, the gay/lesbian/transgender identity in India is generally seen as pathologized and many individuals from the LGBTQIA+ community face rampant homophobia and social-ostracism. Even in urban spaces, queer identity is othered and is seen as a result of Western intervention. As Kaustav Bakshi and Rohit K Dasgupta remark in their book Queer Studies: Texts, Contexts, and Praxis (Orient Black Swan, 2019): queer identity in India is “reprimanded as a Western import” (13). Owing to such bigotry against the queer community, it becomes imperative to craft a narrative for queer voices. Queer Academia believes in the power of words to challenge the heteronormative claim to truth, by synchronizing action and iconoclasm. It aims to establish a platform to generate discussions and debates around issues that greatly affect queer identities in India. The many concerns which Queer Academia seeks to engage in, ranging from the following (but not limited to): queer historiography, representation of queer bodies in media, socio-political issues around LGBTQIA+ rights in India, queer pedagogy, mental health, HIV-AIDS crisis and its impact on queer individuals, trans-rights and more. It welcomes voices from both professional academics as well as budding writers and scholars to contribute to this burgeoning discourse on queer rights.
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