The pride month is underway, and it is that time of the year when we celebrate the queer community, throw light on their struggles and fight for their rights.
Of course, all months are pride months, but June is dedicated to the queer community and here, we look at some of the icons from India, whose accomplishments in their fields and fight for justice is isnpiring to all. Read on.
1. Menaka Guruswamy
Menaka is a senior Supreme Court lawyer and a visiting faculty at Yale, New York University, etc. Menaka played a very important part in the decriminalisation of section 377 that prohibited homosexual relationships.
2. Arundhati Katju
Arundhati was also part of the aforementioned team of lawyers which was instrumental in decriminalisation of section 377. Arundhati has also worked on Jessica Lal murde case and 2G spectrum corruption case.
Both Katju and Guruswami were given in a place in Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2019.
3. Dutee Chand
Apart from being an outstanding athlete, Dutee Chand is also India’s first openly queer athlete. Dutee was banned from participating in events in 2014 as her testosterone levels were found to be higher than ‘permissible’. However, she fought a case against the IAAF, and registered a historic victory after the Supreme Court’s verdict in her favour.
4. Abhina Aher
Abhina is a transgender activist, a dancer, TEDX speaker and an overall champion. Abhina has been involved with The Humsafar Trust, Johns Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programme and India HIV/AIDS Alliance to help sex workers and the transgender community, among others.
5. Keshav Suri
Keshav is an entrepreneur and a very strong voice fighting for the rights of the queer community. He was one of the petitioners who got homosuality decriminalised in 2018. On work front, Keshav plays the role of the executive director of the Lalit Hotels.
6. Parmesh Shahani
Parmesh is the head of Godrej India Culture Lab and an author who has written two books Queeristan: LGBTQ Inclusion in the Indian Workplace and Gay Bombay. He has been an advocate of the rights of the queer community and has done a lot for their corporate inclusion.
7. Harish Iyer
Harish is an activist who has worked for the inclusion and fair treatment of the queer community, along with other issues like child sexual abuse, animal rights, etc. Harish is one of the strongest voices pitching for equal rights in India has featured in many shows, including Elliot Page’s Gaycation. Their inspiring life has been the subject of movie I Am.
8. Dr. Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju
Trinetra is a doctor by profession and has been using her voice to raise awareness regarding issues related to transpeople in India. She is very vocal about various aspects of her life, giving a lot of people courage and hope in the process.
9. Apurva Asrani
Apurva is the writer of the movie Aligarh and co-writer of Shahid. He has been very vocal about his relationship with his ex-partner Sidharth, giving others the courage to do the same. His tweet with a photo of his nameplate with Sidharth went viral last year, as people showered the couple with love and affection.
For 13 years we pretended to be cousins so we could rent a home together. We were told ‘keep curtains drawn so neighbors don’t know ‘what’ you are’. We recently bought our own home. Now we voluntarily tell neighbors we are partners 💕. It’s time LGBTQ families are normalised too. pic.twitter.com/kZ9t9Wnc7i— Apurva (@Apurvasrani) May 29, 2020
10. Grace Banu
A writer and dalit and transgender rights activist, Grace was the first trans person to go to an engineering college in Tamil Nadu. Grace completed her studies with the help of crowdsource funding after her family abandoned her due to gender identity.
11. Heidi Saadiya
Heidi made history in 2019 by becoming the first transgender broadcast journalist from Kerala. Heidi’s first report was that on Chandrayaan-2 lander, and she was congratulated for the same by KK Shailaja, Kerala’s Health Minister.
12. Lilly Singh
A real-life superwoman, Lilly is the first Asian queer woman to be hosting a Late Night Show. She started her career with YouTube, and has a massive following on the platform, which she has always used to raise awareness about important social issues.
Zoya is the first transgender journalist in Mumbai, something she achieved after facing a lot of hardships in life. At one point, she was asking for alms on trains. But she picked herself up after every challenge and ultimately emerged successful. You can read her story here.
14. Alok Menon
Alok Vaid-Menon is a writer, performer and a media personality who uses fashion, poetry and other mediums to talk about gender-nonconformity and other aspects of sexuality. They have 3 published books to their name.
There are many other people who deserve to be a part of this list and we take pride in all of them.