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Chennai’s LGBT Community

The Chennai LGBT Community Stories, Pride Rainbow March 2020, and WhatApp Groups Details and the history of how it all began! 

LGBT Meaning

LGBT Means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender. There is another group LGBTQ where Q stands for questioning (or queer). Q are the people who are not yet sure if they are heterosexual or homosexual but yet giving themselves the time to analyze their sexual orientation. 

LGBT Pride March 2020 – Chennai Rainbow Pride

The Chennai LGBT Pride walk 2020 is planned to be conducted in 11 June, 2020. 

Details of the events, organizers, Venue and Timings to be shared soon.

LGBT Chennai WhatsApp Group Number

Official Community WhatsApp Groups for LGBT can be sought from the following link. The WhatsApp groups are private and clean – which do not solicit commercial exploitation. Hence, one need to get to be a part of the organization to gain access to WhatsApp invite-only link further.

  1. Nirangal +91 98406 99776
  2. Orinam+91 98415 57983
  3. Sahodaran91 98418 65423
  4. LBTW Chennai: https://www.facebook.com/groups/lbtw.chennai 
  5. Queerbatore: http://orinam.net/queer-coimbatore-event-mar2_2018/queerbatore/
  6. Magdalene Jeyarathnam: Doctor who can be reached at +91 98847 00135
  7. Tamil Nadu Rainbow Coalition : http://orinam.net/tag/tamil-nadu-rainbow-coalition

LGBT Stereotyping in Chennai

India is a country where talking openly about sex is a taboo. More so, in Tamil Nadu. The communities restrict discussions, debates, and opinions about sex as much as they DO NOT restrict their actions of the same! The society is far more conservative on the surface. Characteristically camouflaged with a sense of high moral standards, Chennai is highly bigotry towards LGBT Communities. 

However, over recent years, the intolerance and stereotyping of LGBT communities are reducing. The awareness of the scientific and biological aspects of their diverse sexual orientations are gaining prominence. 

Everybody on the earth deserves to live his life according to his own will without angst and horror. This is a famous quotation “Hues may vary but humanity does not”. The LGBTQ+ community is one of the most targeted and discriminated communities even today in many parts of the world. The month of June is remembered for the efforts and struggle of the LGBT community in the memory of America`s Stonewall riots of June 1969. This is also known as pride month.

Chennai LGBT Community
Chennai LGBT Community

Today there are a lot of NGOs and International institutions that try to preserve the rights of this community in Chennai and give them standards of life which they deserve. There are more than 15 groups currently working in Chennai for their interests. Orinam is a Tamil and English based NGO that provides news about their lifestyle, their personal stories, and information related to them. This organization also works for the incorporation of this community in different institutions, businesses, departments, and government jobs. Each June, they also conduct the Rainbow Pride March in solidarity with them. The first pride march conducted in India was on 16th August 2006 to demand amendment in anti-gay laws of India.

Chennai rainbow pride march has been conducted regularly since June 2009 (final Sunday of June) by the members of the Tamil Nadu LGBTQ community. This march is usually composed of LGBT members, their supporters/defenders, and organizations that promote these people. There are also two research institutes in Chennai who work on social science and biomedical research on this community which are Centre for Sexuality and Health Research and Policy 

Here we are just going to take a brief look over them which starts from 1986 till today.

Stories About LGBT Community

Bubbly Mehta – a questioning tomboy who finally understood her orientation

There is a story of a girl named Bubbly Mehta, who concealed her whole life that she was a Lesbian. I am going to mention her story in brief wordings. She told her mom and dad and her sister about this all in 2013. She told in her letter that in 3rd and 4th grade, she was studying in a co-education school and was considered Tomboy of the class. She mentioned that in 6th or 7th grade, girls and boys started liking the romantic stories.

Chennai LGBT Stories
in Pic: Chennai US Consulate Rainbow March

Many movies and dramas depicting such stories. But her own fantasy was always to have a girl as her life partner. She used to have crushed over many charming and pretty teachers of her school. She made many friends in the class and enjoyed it a lot with them. Till the grade 12, she didn’t think anything about who she was and what is her sexual priorities.

During college life, she met with many boys and girls who were in a relationship but she found a girl named Padma, who was a very good girl and she thought that they both share the same pains. They had a very good relationship. But after all, she was a depressed girl but not a homosexual. When she started the relationship with Mahesh (a boy from the college), she cried too much that night.

One day in college, she saw a movie in which she watched a very beautiful actress. She stared to have a crush on her. She went home and did research on her and found that she is a lesbian too and she is going to marry a woman in California. This gave her a huge blow to the mind. At that time, she was really anxious to learn who she is? This question made her very upset and she read a lot in those four months about gender and then I came to with the people who don`t have cross-gender sex desire. She found herself as one of them. And at last from the college, she met with Orinam and she confessed to her parents and little sister in a letter about her sexual desire.

Alok Metha – Feels accepted at Orinam

A boy named Alok also shared his story from Chennai. He also had fought against society and at first, he was too much frustrated by her inner self. He was afraid about what will people say? This world led to the destruction of the lives of the many people not only the LGBTQ community but also many other talented people who left their skills just because of society. He met with the Orinam Organization and after listening to them, it gave him a good hope and will power.

He stood for the LGBTQ+ community and before the age of 30, he told his parents about who he is and what is his sexual desires. But his parents were found to be very helpful and caring. They even after hearing that stood beside him and offered him the full support he required. He mentioned that his Dad still calls him by his nickname Cheeku (by love) and his mother still sees him with the warm smiles.

They are not ashamed of any such thing and also some relatives tried to persuade them but they still stood beside him.

One can find a lot of such stories around him there are many people who are feeling shame to admit to even themselves as well as to the families. But one of the important reasons behind that is the behavior of society. They (mostly right-wing people) do not consider them as human beings. So one should try to look at their situation. This is a famous saying “One should behave with the other people like he wants other people to behave with him”.

History of LGBT Related Events in Chennai

  • In 1986, love of similar genders was first depicted on the Big Screen
  • In 1993, a person named Sekar Balasubramaniam came out as gay and HIV-positive.
  • In 1998, the first group of sexual communities was formed in Chennai named Sahodaran.
  • In 2004, there was the first Chennai LGBT film festival held in Chennai.
  • In 2006, the conference on the third gender was held at Chennai by Nalamdana.
  • And in the same year, the Orinam internet website was launched and that was a very bold move.
  • March for the rights of transgender also held in the same year and was specially organized by organizations like Sangama, Orinam, Thaa, and Swam, etc.
  • Establishment of the Chennai Chapter in 2007.
  • In the same year, Shakti’s resource center was formed which organized film series “Desires and Sexuality”.
  • In 2008, there was the first transwoman who came out as a host of Chennai Television.
  • In 2008, two women named Christy and Rukmini committed suicide as they both were married and shared a Lesbian relationship. Their families tried to separate them before they did such an act. Their bodies were found in the home of one of them hugging each other at Sathangadu.
  • On 12th September 2009, there was a joint meeting between Shakti resource center and Orinam to appraise the need for an LGBT counseling workshop.
  • And in 2009, the same year, there was wonderful progress. A Hindu nationalist newspaper published the editorial about LGBT rights. This development led to a rapid change in public views. This seemed that now the public is getting the issue
  • In 2009, First Chennai Rainbow Pride March was organized. This march is still one of the main events about the awareness of the rights of this community.
  • And the campaign for the open minds was also launched. The center of counseling also organized a meeting with the parents of the LGBT community.  Reverend George Zachariah delivered a great sermon to the Christian community to be inclusive of this community. (From the above-given discussion, you may acknowledge that 2009 was a blessed year for this community).
  • In 2010, a booklet was released by Orinam named “Our Children” for the parents of the LGBT community. Chennai’s dost was also established this year.
  • In 2011, a group named RIOV was formed for bisexual or transgender women. Chennai Dost website was launched this year too.
  • In 2011, there was a strong backlash that led to the public protests after homophobic remarks by Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. He declared homosexual behavior as a disease, un-natural thing and also a western imported product.
  • In 2012, Orinam`s reading group (quilt) was launched. In the same year, the first officially sponsored LGBT event was launched at IIT Madras.
  • Now at the same time, this movement also faced criticism and opposition by right-wing groups just as usual. There was a rally organized by right-wing Christians against homosexuals.
  • In 2014, the Tamil Nadu Rainbow coalition was formed.
  • In 2015, the Tamil Nadu LGBTIQ cum website portal was launched.
  • On 14 Feb 2016, there was first valentine’s day special event that was launched for this community by Tamil Nadu LGBTQ organizations.
  • The gatherings of this community also held for the involvement of this community in the politics and other social structures and departments of India.
  • LGBT activists also launched the rally in solidarity with the Orlando victims in 2016.
  • In 2017, there was also a big issue of this community “Harassment” was raised on the public forum. There were sessions about this as a part of Rainbow March.
  • In 2018, India`s first Queer Litfest was organized by Queer Chennai Chronicles in the month of July.

There is more to the life stories of people from LGBT Communities. They live among us. Trying their best to carve out a life and identity for themselves in a society that is no so approving. Let us do our best in giving LGBT Communities in Chennai the much-needed respect and status they deserve!