India Today

From anger to pride: Kolkata's evolution of embracing gay rights

From secret monthly meetings in Kolkata in the early 1990s to pride marches across cities here are the memories of an evolving movement.

Collections of 'gay' (and sometimes 'lesbian' or 'transsexual') news clippings and foreign magazines secretly stored away in an almirah at home; a clutch of books too, including Shakuntala Devi's The World of Homosexuals. Letters sent to newspaper editors advocating acceptance of homosexuality.

Men interested in men meet for social and masti gatherings at a secret club (Fun Club) in the heart of the city (that is, when they find time to get away from cruising in parks, cinemas et al). Some identify as 'gay', others as 'kothi' or 'dhurani', but many others couldn't be bothered with identities. A few, very few, also talk about queer 'organising', the need to do 'something' serious around health, rights and so on...

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