We are a group of individuals and collectives writing in to speak with you about your inclusion of Nandini Krishnan on the panel Queer Scapes: The Written Word. We understand that you may have invited Krishnan a long time ago, maybe since before the launch of Invisible Men but since the launch there has been a sustained critique by Trans Men of the work.
Several people have spoke out against the book, and there are serious accusations of conversations being published without consent, of interviews being presented in inaccurate context. The book is also criticised for transphobia, misgendering, Hindu saffronising and caste bigotry. These are claims from the men who are subjects in the book, and not just an outside perspective.
1. For details on research misconduct, please read this FirstPost article and see the embedded video: Six people whose words appear in the book are speaking out here. https://t.co/VOXVfRaBy1
2. A direct response from Gee Semmalar on his reading of the book: https://t.co/c3ucPsy5ut Gee lists ten reasons why the book has caused offended in the trans masculine community.
3. In the North East, the book was burned by her subjects in protest. Here is a concise write up on the oppressive saffronising that shuts out Manipuri culture, by Heigrujam Elizabeth: https://t.co/z6VZeBiMSX
4. Jamal Siddiqui is a subject of Krishnan’s book and he has some thoughts: https://t.co/gpEL781NYM. He speaks both about being re-written from the Hindu lens, and also about the pain and dysphoria caused by the book, which ostensibly is about supporting trans men.
5. Karthik Bittu Kondaia was also a subject of the book, and they also have some thoughts: https://t.co/NYvwiicUYh. Bittu’s piece looks closely at Krishnan’s language and gender politics, and highlights piece by piece where Krishnan’s work is harmful.
6. Here is the site Trans Men Speak For Themselves, which started to collect critique of the book Invisible Men: https://t.co/gCKX7NuAJ0. There are more links and references in there, and hopefully you will find it educational and useful. In the future we hope we can help it evolve beyond this one book so that we’re not wasting time fighting this losing battle.
We don’t want to have some sort of call out performance here. You’ve probably had Krishnan booked for a long time. The queer community was also looking forward to this book. But since the launch we have had time to re-evaluate. Why are fests not doing that same re-evaluation? Why are the voices of the trans community, raised in protest against this book, being ignored? Why are they ignored SO MUCH that Krishnan is invited to your panels but these men are not?
If Nandini Krishnan is invited to your panels to speak about the LGBT community please do not pretend you are not complicit in her offensive, transphobic, casteist and classist work.
We would like you to disinvite Krishnan, or at least put one or more of the men who are critiquing her work on the panel to face her. Krishnan has refused to appear on panels where these men will be, because she does not wish to face their legitimate anger. Krishnan’s privilege has meant that she appears at art and literature fests where she is lauded as a gender justice champion and as a gender expert, though the marginal community she misrepresents is crying out against her.
It is somewhat ludicrous that we have reached out to you on other platforms and you have not responded or made any changes. It is disappointing that we had to reach out at all. Please take a stand against privileged misconduct. Don’t enable more of the same. Don’t give this misgendering voice a platform. Give it to someone who can use it to actually educate and share something authentic.
- Open Letter to Kala Ghoda Literature Organisers Regarding Nandini Krishnan - February 6, 2019