Updated: Dec 25, 2022
As a person of the LGBTQ+ community living in India, it’s difficult to be able to find your own community easily. When all you seem to be surrounded by is cisgender, heterosexual people, the yearning for your own people — those who understand you and your struggles, who accept you without the awkward questions — is natural. Unfortunately, being cisgender and heterosexual — cisheteronormativity — is considered the norm in India. It is often a difficult task, uncomfortable, and even dangerous, at times, to come out to those around you — which is why the requirement for establishments to meet queer and trans people is immense.
Here are a few places to meet your community, both online and offline:
Pride Parades: A pride parade is a celebration of the LGBTQ+ community, a way to commemorate their identities and be proud of who they are, amidst hostility. A pride parade is an excellent spot to meet people of your community and those who support it, as when you are part of the parade, it is implicitly understood that you are accepting of and/ or are a part of the LGBTQ+ community. The emotion and spirit of a pride parade revolve around being found by your community, and accepted for who you are, regardless of your identity. There are various pride parades organized all over the nation, such as in Mumbai (usually held in the month of February) and Delhi (usually held in the month of November), and Kolkata (which will be held in the month of December, this year.) While pride parades are an excellent spot to find your community, taking care and precaution is of the utmost priority when being part of an offline queer event.
Social Media: Social media has been a blessing for those of the LGBTQ+ community, in how it helps connect those of the same, or similar, communities across states, countries, or continents. Through online group chats on the social media platforms of Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, queer and trans people are able to find each other, start up conversations, and connect and bond through shared experiences. Social media has not only made the world smaller, it’s made the world better for the lives and communities of the LGBTQ+ individuals unable to safely find a community offline.
Metaverse: There are also dedicated organisations that help LGBTQ+ individuals connect online safely (and anonymously) — such as First Contact. First Contact is the metaverse for queer and questioning folx bringing together verified individuals of the LGBTQ+ community to safely meet and have conversations within said metaverse, therefore harbouring a sense of community.
Apps: There are a good amount of dedicated apps for LGBTQ+ individuals that are gaining popularity at a rapid pace, such as OkCupid, Manjam, Bumble, etc. Some apps, such as Bumble, have a specific setting that allows people to pick and choose if they’d like to form romantic or platonic connections as well. Through these apps, with the matching process, people are not only able to find fellow members of the LGBTQ+ community, but also those members with interests similar to or matching theirs. Apps are a relatively safe online method of finding your own community.
Support Groups: Through groups such as First Contact, Nazariya, Naz Foundation, The Humsafar Trust, Harmless Hugs, Indian Aces, etc. that organize LGBTQ+ specific meet-ups and events to participate in online and offline. They conduct workshops and through their events, help queer individuals understand themselves and their community in a deeper manner.