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How To Be an Ally to the Queer Community? Hear What They Have To Say

How To Be an Ally to the Queer Community? Hear What They Have To Say

Absolut Glassware's new campaign Be an #AbsolutAlly encourages India's LGBTQIA+ community to express themselves freely through lived experiences, stories and perspectives.

This article has been sponsored by Absolut Glassware. 

It has been around five years since same-sex relationships were decriminalised in India, but has that meant true acceptance and inclusion of the members of the LGBTQIA+ community? 

For many, this acceptance often comes after years — or decades — of low self-esteem and confusion. Even well-meaning individuals can unknowingly contribute to these factors. 

Do your parents know you’re gay? Why do you talk that way? Why do you dress that way? Not only do these questions make one uncomfortable, but they can also trigger unpleasant memories of struggling with familial acceptance. 

In light of this, it is imperative that we create an ecosystem that not only provides a safe and inclusive space to members of the LGBTQIA+ community but also sensitises cis-het folks to be more trustworthy allies. 

Doing just that is the well-known brand Absolut Glassware through a campaign to encourage people to express themselves freely.

The campaign will see people across the gender and sexuality spectrum candidly narrate their real-life stories.
The campaign will see people across the gender and sexuality spectrum candidly narrate their real-life stories. 

Having supported the community for over 40 years, its campaign Be an #AbsolutAlly “was developed following in-depth interactions with diverse people from within the LGBTQIA+ community in India to understand their lived experiences, stories and perspectives. This was further aligned with a deeper cultural and digital scan.”

The campaign will see people across the gender and sexuality spectrum — including Dutee Chand, Durga Gawde, Patruni Sastry, Jay Anand, Alex Matthew, Aniruddha Mahale, Maitrayanee Mahanta, Anwesh Sahoo, and Anjali Lama — candidly narrate their real-life stories. 

These are stories of familial acceptance, assumptions, stereotypes, the usage of pronouns, and personal anecdotes to highlight instances where they felt a lack of support and the absence of a strong ally in their life. They highlight that one of the simplest ways to be an #AbsolutAlly is to create an environment and safe space for members of the community to talk and share, and not to assume.

A vital aspect of the #AbsolutAlly campaign is also to create a meaningful impact for the community in the ‘club and bar’ ecosystem that the brand inhabits. To manifest this and create safe spaces through sensitisation workshops across the country, Absolut Glassware has collaborated with Mr Bartender & The Crew, which is India’s first bar academy for women — especially those from low-income backgrounds, victims of human trafficking, ex-prison inmates, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The campaign aims to encourage allies to contribute to this sense of community.
India’s LGBTQIA+ community shares stories and anecdotes to show how integral it is to have — and be — a strong ally.

This initiative kicked off in January this year. It aims to be an ongoing programme targeting 100 bars in its first leg.

Meanwhile, Absolut Glassware is also conducting Pride nights in key metro cities. 

With an intent to celebrate members of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies, the brand aims to make the Pride nights celebratory with drag performances and artists from the community.

With this campaign, Absolut Glassware is looking to build not only spaces sans bias and divide, but also encourage allies to contribute to this sense of community.

Edited by Divya Sethu; All images courtesy: Absolut Glassware

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