Hyderabad: The New Year saw a new beginning for the LGBT+ community in Hyderabad, as Mobbera Foundation, city-based human rights and LGBT+ NGO conducted their first event of the year on Sunday. The name of the event – Queer Katha, explains it all, as it was an event where people from the community could come and share their stories.
“The pandemic and the lockdown affected members of the community mentally, as they were stuck in their homes for months. Being locked up with unsupportive families for months on has a drastic impact on mental health and this event is to give them a safe space to come out and speak out,” shares Sandy, one of the founders of the NGO, adding, “We also ensured that the tone of the event is not serious and that is why there are also cultural performances, skits and music performances.”
Starting with a music performance by members of NRB music group, the event later saw three thought-provoking short-films that dealt with LGBT+ themes, before having poetry recitals on coming out, acceptance, and inclusivity in the society apart from a performance by Patruni Sastry, a drag artist from the city.
One of the highlights of the event was a skit by members of Mobbera, where they enacted what it was like for Anil – a cofounder of the NGO – to come out to his family about his sexuality. “We want to motivate more people to come out in the open about their gender identities and sexual orientation and we figured one of the best ways to do this is to enact a coming-out story of one of our members,” shared Sandy.
But an intriguing aspect of this event was an act by Shivanya, a transwoman from the city. In that act, coming out was portrayed as more than just about sexuality and emphasis was on the importance of coming out for survivors of sexual assault. Victim-blaming and shaming are the perceived norm in society when it comes to sexual assault and this act spoke about the importance of a victim speaking out.
“When people hear the term ‘coming out’, it is usually understood in a gender/sexuality context but for rape survivors, coming out and speaking out about their assault is extremely crucial and this was an attempt to highlight that,” Sandy explained.
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