Tezpur, February 01: “I am no bird; and no net ensnares me; I am a free human being with an independent will” – Charlotte Bronte.
Of character, of empowerment, of freedom, of independence and integrity, of self awareness, of self determination, of gender, of identity, and of image; a group of Tezpur University students came up and collaborated in unison, for an evening – a symposium, an essential, which they called ‘Queertessential‘ on January 30. With a motto of promoting queer talk, and queer thought, the primary eventuality of the team, guided by an alumni of the university, Arpana Choudhury, was the screening of a short film – “That’s My Boy” by Akhil Satyan, which is a story of a girl who turns into a boy. In association with WE DO, a group of Assam based activists whose prime focus is to empower women across cultures and spaces, the team created a much needed space of expression and of assertion, in relation to the lives and the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The event which ran for more than three hours including reviews, discussions and debates proved to be a grand success especially with a nineteen year old trans girl coming out and sharing her experiences with the house. Milin Dutta, a founding member of Xukia – a collective formed with the vision of a queer friendly Assam, and the organiser of the first ever Northeast Pride Walk was present in the evening. He is back to Assam from the USA to work for the amelioration of the sexual minorities. Dutta, who identifies himself as a trans man, talked about his own journey of transformation, and the need of the hour, which he feels is to recognise the alternative genders as fellow human beings. Three other transgender people had also participated in the evening sharing stories of their struggle and survival which turned the audience emotional.
The core team expressed their happiness on having contributed a little as they say, for the sake of not just gender equity, but humanity in general. “We are hungry for a colourful world, and we will do our best to bring out diversities and differences out in the open and celebrate them” said Indranee, a core team member. Hand made rainbow bands and rainbow earrings attracted the eyes of the audience who bought them and donated the money for the Guwahati Queer Pride Walk which is supposed to be marching on February 11.
Here are a glimpses of the event.
The efforts made by these young people are commendable; a promise was made in solidarity to break free of the gloomy clouds of ignorance and hatred which has been hiding the beautiful rainbow for so long, and stand together for liberty, for equality and above all, for love.