Magazines are mostly like fireflies.
They have their own beacon of stories to tell, but no one really bothers unless the other lights go off; or in case of magazines, a reader runs out of available good reads in hand. Though not always true, we often flip through a magazine while waiting at an office reception or at the doctor’s chamber; and even more often, not really reading much of it anyway.
But when the issues a magazine addresses are not as simple as cake recipes or home remedies for cloth stains, they receive a very different reaction from the readers. One such genre in India is LGBTQ magazines.
It is needless to say that it is a topic that most people don’t even feel comfortable talking about in public or in social gatherings, or even if they do it is with a certain amount of awkwardness. Publication of an entire magazine or newsletter about the same is a very big step taken towards a very right direction.
Here are some of the LGBTQ magazines that the Indian print and electronic publishing has seen.
- BOMBAY DOST
Bombay Dost was a first of its kind magazine in India when it was launched by Ashok Row Kavi in Mumbai in 1990. It became a light of hope for an entire generation of gay men, which later included pieces and articles about lesbian women too. Nitin Karnani, an editor of several issues of the magazine, spoke about the first gay pride walk on June 29, 1999, Kolkata. He said:
“I walked in Calcutta with the hope that maybe others will take courage and break the oppressive closet of silence.”
After a seven year long battle at the court of law, the magazine was finally revived in 2009 and published its first comeback edition just two months prior the historical declaration by the Delhi High Court striking down Section 377.
- PINK PAGES INDIA
Founded by a young entrepreneur from Indore, Nipun Goyal, Pink Pages – captioned as India’s National LGBT Magazine is distributed on the electronic platform free of cost and accessible all around the globe. The e-magazine is a potpourri of articles on LGBT culture, events, literature and entertainment, latest news as well as the readers’ accounts of personal experiences, anecdotes and stories.
In 2010, the magazine was denied a print publication by the Registrar of Newspapers in India without citing any proper reason. There was an outrage from the community and its supporters, and this was considered as a homophobic act by the authorities.
- TQC (THE QUEER CHRONICLE)
TQC or formerly The Queer Chronicle is yet another realistic LGBTQ magazine, launched in 2008 that focuses on the lives of the community people. It writes on the usual categories like fashion, fitness, music, books, art, lifestyle and many more– everything obviously from an LGBTQ perspective. TQC is a non-commercial publication and is not for sale. The e-zine is exclusively meant for a private distribution.
- GAYLAXY MAGAZINE
Gaylaxy magazine was founded by Sukhdeep Singh and the first edition was out in January, 2010. After the Supreme Court re-criminalized LGBTQ citizens in India, reinstating Section 377, the magazine came up with a Hindi section with an inaugural issue of 8 relevant articles. They released an app in 2014, called Gaylaxy which is considered to be the possible first for the LGBT community, according to some surveys.
The magazine publishes cover stories related to LGBT community of India, related news from around the world, pride parade and rainbow festival details, movie and book reviews, relationship advice, NGO lists and articles, stories and poems submitted by the readers. Apart from this, they organise and host various LGBTQ related events in major cities all over the country to address the issues like homophobia, coming-out-of-the-closet and also to give the community members a platform to express themselves.
- GAYSI (THE GAY DESI)
The Gaysi is a safe e-zone for the Indian gay people across the world. Launched in 2008, it had the primary objective of to simply provide a platform for the gays and to stand behind them in their struggles. Now, the e-zine has features like fiction, latest news, personal accounts, book and movie reviews and the usual. Occasional interviews with popular LGBT figures and sometimes their straight and cisgender supportive allies are also published. Recently, they launched a new section called “Writer’s Bloc” which hopes to translate diverse queer literature from Indian regional languages into English and vice versa. In 2013, the Gaysi Family launched its queer journal called The Gaysi Zine, a magazine dedicated to curating content about what it means to be gay and desi = Gaysi — gender or labels notwithstanding.