How does it feel to be a transperson and convince your family about your gender assertion? Or a HIV+ person from a lower-middle class background and fight both bullies and discrimination?

A new set of videos by 101 India is providing the answers, capturing the life and experiences of a whole spectrum of LGBTQ people. The videos, most of which are between five and six minutes long, cover the life stories, struggles, negotiations and triumph of queer individuals.

The videos cover Shivali, a transwoman, Chanchal, a transman, Divya, an androgynous person, Gautam, a gay man who is HIV+ and Justine, a bisexual person.

“We wanted to showcase a cross section of people and experiences, not just from urban metros, but also from smaller towns like Jabalpur. The series is ongoing,” said Jayant Shankar, head of social media at 101 India.

The videos are part of a series called #ComingOut by the website, a youth portal focussed on telling stories made by television experts, film makers, writers, bloggers, animators and designers.

“We want to talk about the issue ; to showcase the human side of this, to create positive discussion and to help in our own small way to repeal Section 377,” Shankar said.

The videos come at a time when there’s renewed hope about the repealing of Section 377. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court admitted a curative petition to a 2013 judgment that reinstated the colonial-era law that criminalizes same-sex desire.

Though the date of the new hearings are not out, the verdict and the hope that India’s highest court will hear the arguments of pro-LGBT groups afresh has invigorated queer groups across the country. TV and newspapers reported widespread celebrations after the verdict.

But notwithstanding the legal case, the past decade has seen unprecedented change in the way queer issues are looked at. From smaller urban centres to villages to big cities, countless queer folks have resisted discrimination and voiced their assertions. This has been reflected in the responses to the videos as well.

“Almost a million views and almost all the feedback has been positive. The response to supportive parents in particular has been overwhelming with hundreds of people saluting them,” Shankar said.


Dhrubo Jyoti
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