What does LGBTQA+ really mean?
Why is the LGBTQA+ community called ‘queer community’?
How does a person find out that they are homosexual?
Everyone outside the queer community, and some within, harbour many questions about ‘queerness’ in their minds.
Image for representation only. Source: by Vinayak Das, via Flickr
With a huge gap between the community and the rest of society, owing to stereotyping, stigma, prejudice and sometimes plain hesitation and awkwardness, many of these questions remained unanswered. One can find information on gender nomenclature and theories, what remains lacking is a healthy dialogue between the communities that can enable them to understand each other’s concerns.
To bridge this gap and break the stigma, a lesbian couple from Bengaluru has taken up a unique initiative: The Queer Question. Pooja Nair and her partner are inviting people to open up and ask questions about the queer community and the couple promises honest and frank answers.
Pooja says, “Being a gay couple, we often encounter a lot of questions from people. And many times we even sense that people hesitate to ask the questions they have on their minds. What we are doing is a small effort to demystify sexuality. In India, we are still in the hope of getting the right to marriage for couples who love each other beyond existing binaries of gender, sexuality and heteronormativity. However, change has to come organically through society. Therefore, it’s important to build a dialogue between the non-queer and queer communities.”
The initiative has been around for just a few months, but the sociology postgraduate says that the response has been amazing.
While the questions can be asked with the help of a Google form and even anonymously, the couple makes it a point to share the answers publicly on social media platforms for the benefit of the larger community.
“My girlfriend and I received around 40 questions in the first two days. So far, we have managed to post answers to some 15 questions. We post answers on our FB and Instagram pages under the names April & May. We answer some questions together, while choose to answer some separately. It has been a wonderful experience. Some interesting questions even gave us wonderful insights into our own psyche,” says Pooja.
The initiative was started with the belief that it is only lack of information that scares people from those who are different from them. Though the questions are hurtful or rather uncomfortable, Pooja regards most of the queries to wonderfully intriguing and genuine. Like questions about the meaning of gender and different types of genders enabled the couple to explain in detail what it means that one of them is gender fluid while the other is gender neutral.
The couple has also been getting a lot of questions from closet homosexuals who are either trying to come to terms with the reality themselves or afraid of coming out to their parents.
Image for representation only. Source: Facebook
Pooja mentions a recent interaction with a girl from Badlapur who wrote to them saying, “I am trying my best not to be gay” since her family is really conservative.
“It broke our hearts,” she says.
“Nobody should have to curb who they are just in order to fit in society’s norms. We have received many such messages—some are confused about their gender while some are scared of their parents. We try to help them in any way we can. We write to them about our own stories and also connect them to counsellors or NGOs in their area,” says Pooja.
The initiative is growing with each passing and the couple has been receiving more and more questions–about sexuality, porn, gender identities and many more topics. April and May are trying to change the way society sees the LGBTQA+, which means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Asexual/Aromantic, Allies and Advocates (and the A can also stand for All) community, one Queer Question at a time.