our inception as Stree Sangam in 1995, our foremost concern has been to break
the isolation and invisibility around queer lives and create safe spaces for
LBT persons. We situate ourselves within the autonomous women’s movements and
queer rights organising; work with feminist and human rights groups against
social injustice, violence, State repression, and fundamentalism; and ally with the
struggles of various marginalised groups.
major work has been in the following areas:
- Campaigning around issues specific to the queer communities as well
as in the area of women’s rights. We jointly organised the first National
Workshop on Strategising for LGBT Rights in India, in Bombay in 1997. We have
also consistently organised sessions and workshops on marginalised genders and
sexualities in various national conferences, including those of the autonomous
women’s movements (1997 and 2006), women’s studies (2005, 2008) and other such
platforms. In 2011 we coordinated Hamari
Zindagi, Hamari Choice, a
campaign built around issues of choice, consent and sexuality, in collaboration
with several women’s groups in the city.
- Building solidarity with other queer groups, women's groups and social
movements. We have been part of the national campaign against Section 377, and
of organising marches and other actions in the city of Bombay. We have also
been active in the campaign for better sexual assault laws for women and queer
people in India.
- Supporting lesbian and bisexual women and trans* persons through counselling in person and over the phone (for six years we have been running a phone
line for LBT persons); intervening in
crisis situations where people have faced oppression and violence from families;
aiding queer persons to find shelter and livelihood; raising funds through
feminist and queer community
networks to help them pursue vocational training/academic studies. We have also
organised three national-level retreats and meetings, especially aimed at those
who do not have access to queer groups in their own cities/towns/villages.
- Creating spaces for queer expression including a zine called Scripts, of which we have published 14
issues since 1997. This is a completely non-funded and collective endeavour. We
have also organised reading/performance events for queer persons, and our film
club CineLabia holds monthly film screenings of queer and feminist films.