You need a rainbow mug, a rainbow earring, key chain or any other accessory or wardrobe item to shout it out loud and express your support for the cause, you log onto Azaad Bazaar’s site. They now even have their own pride- store, where you can shop till you drop. But what about your literary cravings? Have you ever tried searching for a fiction/non-fiction book on homosexuality? While looking out for such a book at ordinary or small shops would be the case of extreme optimism, searching in a bigger book store might also not lead to satisfying results. Unless you are in a big city, even such book-stores won’t have a queer collection/section. In metros too, chances are that the collection would have only a limited number of books and you might have to dig very deep for a book of your choice. So, what do you do? Fret about it and remain content with whatever you can lay your hands on? Well, help is at hand now!!! With the launch of Queer Ink- India’s first online bookstore with a diverse collection of books related to queer subjects- you now just need to log onto www.queer-ink.com.
Initiated under the aegis of Offside Enterprises, a partnership of two queer women with over 20 years of experience each in corporate and non-profit sectors, and a shared commitment towards creating empowering and self-sustaining undertakings; Queer-Ink seeks to disempower those who look at others with derision or suspicion or ignorance through the retailing of books, or the publishing of new works, or by supporting business enterprises that need that first leg up, or even setting up a special Qi community.
There are four genres under which the books have been grouped- fiction, non-fiction, children and magazines. The rich collection of various queer books and magazines are not restricted to English or Hindi or for that matter from India only. So there are books in Bengali, Marathi and Kannada too. What’s more, they even offer attractive discounts of up to Rs 200!
Another “cool” feature of their site is the Queer Lingo and Queer Calendar tab. The diverse world of sexuality is made even more confusing by the equally diversified terms that have been coined for them. Under the Queer Lingo tab, you get a short and precise definition of various such terms, including some that are of local origin. Click on Queer Calendar and you would be directed to a page which lists the various queer related events that are scheduled to take place in the next two months. However, all these events are only from Mumbai, so unless you are from the economic capital, this section wouldn’t be of much interest to you.
Just in case you are a writer who would like to share his literary work with others, there’s a Qi Writer’s Corner too. “For those of you bitten by the literary bug and looking to showcase your writing, we’ve built a platform to allow you just the right space and nurturing environment you need. You can share anything you like-poems, short stories and the ilk…,” reads the introduction to the corner.
Queer Ink is trying to fill in a void that has existed for too long in India. As more and more people come out and become comfortable with their sexuality, businesses catering to their demands would spring-up; clearing sending out the message- WE ARE QUEER AND WE ARE HERE!