Desi LGBTQ+ Art & History

In honor of PRIDE month, we thought to dedicate a little love to our desi (Indian) LGBTQ+ artists and allies. These artist have not only thrived in their work, but also used their art to process and express their identities.

Surya Shekhar Biswas

LGBTQ+ people in India have faced a lot of legal and social hurdles, both because of ignorance and cultural and religious biases. Since the eighties, the community’s acceptance has grown with the help of the first few brave voices.

Close up of the sculptures at one of the Khajuraho temples.

It is worth mentioning that transgender, intersex people traditionally called hijras are a part of Indian mythology. The community has been revered as auspicious guests, to be invited and included on happy occasions since their blessing was of the truest kind.

Priya Dali

Homoeroticism was common even in the Mughal courts with high ranking officers were gay men. Hindu scriptures tell of gods who identify both as male and female, Hindu temple have portrayed homosexuality as natural part of human tendency. What constitutes modern homophobia was introduced by the British. With the colonizers came their opinions of what was natural and what was criminal.

Arzoo Naqvi
Nikhil Bansal

We have come a long way since, and have a long way to go still. These artists, magazine editors and influencers are doing their part is sharing the love.

Gargi Chandola
Priyanka Paul

We hope you do too. Happy PRIDE month everyone!


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