One Future Collective is an organization that works towards building compassionate youth social leadership through the use of art, education, community intervention and policy advocacy – across verticals of gender justice, mental health, legal reform and development policy.

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Queer Infocus | August I ‘19

Queer InFocus is a bimonthly roundup of queer news in India.

Chennai lesbian couple thrown out of hotel. Staff blackmail them with making out video

August 02, 2019

Rasika Gopalakrishnan and Shivangi Singh recently took to social media to talk about their experience at The Slate Hotels in relation to homophobia. In a Facebook post, Rasika talks about how they were asked to leave the bar after there were ‘several complaints’ from other patrons at the bar. The manager also reportedly threatened the couple by telling them he had a video of them making out in his custody. The hotel has called these allegations as baseless and a notice put out by them after the facebook post gained visible traction.

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India bans commercial surrogacy, leaving gay couples childless

August 06, 2019

The central government recently passed the Surrogacy Bill, which bans commercial surrogacy.The law allows altruistic surrogacy only for infertile, heterosexual couples who have been married for at least five years. Surrogates can only be a close relative. India has previously disallowed adoption under CARA guidelines. Under this new surrogacy bill, same-sex couples,live-in couples, and most single people will be unable to hire a surrogate to carry their child.

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Transgender citizens: The other “integral part of India” that may have been shortchanged by its parliament

August 07, 2019

The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on August 5 of this year. Transgender communities across India have condemned the bill, with some – such as transgender activist Grace Banu – marking the day as ‘Gender Justice Murder Day’. While the bill redefines ‘transgender’ in opposition to its 2016 counterpart, it still holds in place a regressive certification process that is intrusive. The bill, amongst its other shortcomings, also fails to provide affirmative action in terms of education, politics and employment.

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India’s move in Kashmir divided queer hindus, queer muslims

August 07, 2019

Following the Indian government’s abrogation of article 370, Queer Hindu Alliance (QHA), an advocacy and support group, posted a tweet celebrating the move. Homosexuality cannot be prosecuted in Jammu and Kashmir post the abrogation, unlike before. In contrast, the Queer Muslim Project states that any celebration of the move “pinkwashes the ever going struggle of Kashmiri people against grave injustice, violence and oppression”. QHA was publicly disowned by the LGBT community, in an essay by OpIndia.com staff.

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Indian transgender couple tie knot in landmark ‘rainbow wedding’

August 08, 2019

A transgender couple in Kolkata recently got married in a traditional Bengali ceremony in what is said to be the state’s first ‘rainbow wedding’. Tista Das and Dipan Chakrabarty got married after what has been a long, uphill struggle for both of them. The bride and groom both underwent sex reassignment surgery. This marriage comes at the heels of the Transgender (Right of Persons) bill, which has seen heavy condemnation since its passing.

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Making India Proud: Transgender Model Naaz Joshi Wins The Title Of Miss World Diversity 2019

August 08, 2019

Naaz Joshi made history by winning the Miss World Diversity pageant for the third time in a row. The Delhi based transgender model has previously won the crown in 2017 and 2018. Along with winning the crown, she also bagged the titles of Miss Congeniality and Best National Costume. Naaz had also been crowned as Miss Republic International Beauty Ambassador 2017.

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Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s film on LGBTQ+, with Celina Jaitley, Lillete Dubey, to be endorsed by UN

August 08, 2019

The United Nations’ Free and Equal campaign has chosen to back Ram Kamal Mukherjee’s A Tribute to Rituparno Ghosh: Season’s Greetings. This is the first film to be backed by the campaign, which intends to raise awareness against homophobic and transphobic violence and intolerance. The feature also marks the screen debut of transgender actor Shree Ghatak. The film aims to acquaint commercial audiences with Ghosh’s works.

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Long Distance: Anoop Lokkur’s short lesbian film explores a familiar reality for unmarried Indian women

August 09, 2019

Anoop Lokkur’s Long Distance was one of over 240 films that was screened at Outfest, Los Angeles. It is a seven-minute short film about an Indian lesbian in Australia in conversation with her mother back home. Long Distance premiered in India in January, at the Kashish Film Festival. The film revolves around the conversations and fears that surround familial relationships in India – one prominent one being the apprehension towards marriage and leading double lives to appease our parents. Long Distance will also premiere in Australia at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

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SC junks plea on civil rights for LGBTQ

August 13, 2019

A three-judge Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana dismissed a plea which sought to review a rejected petition that sought civil rights for the LGBTQ community. The plea was filed by Tushar Nayar, which sought rights for same-sex marriage, adoption and surrogacy. The petition was dismissed on merits, citing no case for review of order.

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COMMENTARY:

India’s decriminalization of homosexuality had been hailed as one of the historic moments of the queer movement in this country. However, time and again, the courts fail to deliver judgements that are in tandem with the abolishment of Section 377. The current surrogacy bill deprives same-sex couples the chance to have a family of their own. Civil rights, such as those allowing marriage and parenting rights, are thus formally rejected by the courts. The Transgender (Right of Persons) bill too, is another example of a law being passed which cannot grant proper benefits to its claimants. Homophobia is still as rampant as before (Chennai lesbian couple thrown out of hotel), and transgender persons do not receive the recognition they deserve (Naaz Joshi, Miss World Diversity 2019). It is time to ask – are these laws being passed for actually helping the LGBT community or are they farcical in nature?

One Future Collective