“Rainbow In A Brown World” is an entertaining, an educative and an animated film that depicts a day-in-the-life of a queer Indian woman as she goes about her daily routine and encounters various people who question her regarding her sexuality. The protagonist ‘Aarti’ is a young, queer woman who finds herself at the receiving end of an absurd, often hilarious albeit well intentioned questions about being LGBT. However, she answers these wittily and is often amused by them.
Nabina Das reviews the loves and desires of Hoshang Merchant’s latest collection
In July 2016, Railway Police Force (RPF) personnel arrested three trans women (male-to-female transgender persons) at a railway station in Kolkata, West Bengal. When a transgender activist contacted the RPF official about the arrests, the official told her that they were not ‘real’ hijras, and dressed up merely to beg for money. He said he could prove they were ‘artificial’ by stripping them and revealing that they had male genitalia. The activist tried to inform him about the 2014 Supreme Court judgment on transgender rights (‘NALSA vs. Union of India’, or the NALSA judgment in short), which states that one need not undergo surgical transition to be considered transgender, but the cop said he didn’t want to get into such legalities. This tendency of distinguishing between ‘fake’ and ‘real’ hijras or trans persons based on genitals is an old one: to give just another example, back in July 2012, the Times of India reported that four ‘fake eunuchs’ had been arrested near Kanpur after being medically examined and found to be ‘men’.
Safe, affordable and informed access to gender affirming procedures is a fundamental human reproductive health right. This basic right extends to self-determining which gender transitioning procedures feel safe, feel affirming (and for how long) within a context that is not medically coercive, manipulative and ultimately harmful.
A photoessay looking for redemption in the forbidden quarters of Kolkata streets