Queer Realness: In Pursuit of Freedom

C. Anzio Jacobs (2020)
Interactive magazine and podcast "Queer Realness: In Pursuit of Freedom"

How are lives of transgender and intersex people in India affected by the momentous legal changes for LGBTIQ+ people that has taken place in the past years, including with the 2018 Supreme Court’s Navtej Johar decision which among other decriminalized homosexuality? And what are the stories behind the story of litigation? In the interactive magazine and podcast “Queer Realness: In Pursuit of Freedom” C. Anzio Jacobs shares stories from conversations with transgender and intersex activist in the informal spaces of the Transform Conference. You can read it here.

The Transform conference, hosted by the Centre for Law and Policy Research in Bangalore gathered academics, activists, lawyers and members of the transgender community to generate discussion about the law concerning transgender and intersex persons in India who have historically been ill-treated, holistically approaching intersectional experiences of marginalised persons. It illustrated the deficit in rights which ought to have stemmed from the Navtej Johar ruling but did not quite achieve that end. In contemplating the role of significant public figures within the trans and intersex communities and how their respective engagements with the law have impacted the lived experiences of others, the conference illustrated the tremendous amount of work that led up to that ruling, and the work that still needs to be done. While the conference focussed on the attainment of equality, it was challenged to consider this in tandem with freedoms. You can see and listen to Akkai Padmashali, Jayna Kothari and the other speakers here: https://clpr.org.in/transform/

The lived experiences of transgender and intersex persons alike underpin the discussions in the conference. The lesser seen side of the gathering is one which exists in the common areas of the accommodation organised for the panelists and during the tea breaks where saris and kurtas are put on show. It is in these spaces that the stories behind the story of litigation and all of its incumbent struggles come to life. It is here where kin come together to share the events of the last year, to break bread and to give thanks to one another for the tireless efforts being put into a struggle however big or small, in the North or the South. These stories may not be the talk of the conference within the auditorium, but offer an insight into a world which Transform 2019 showed to the author.

Stories have been woven together in the Queer Realness podcast and magazine, which is part of the LawTrasform research project “Sexual and Reproductive Rights Lawfare: Global Battles”.