Greetings from the queer side and a very warm welcome to the new issue of SCRIPTS. This is the second issue this year and sixth over all (notwithstanding the confusion created by saying issue 4 instead of 5 on the cover this April). It has been a mixed year for all of us here and we are happy to have come to this place where we can bring this out on schedule to all of you.
To begin with, our apologies for not being able to bring this issue as a “Body, appearance and identity” special as our call for submissions had proclaimed. The selection of material that came in, while astounding and beautiful, did not coalesce into any one theme. And so we present to you an eclectic and exciting selection of work, especially poetry in this issue. However, we do promise a special issue, if you send in you writings to us.
The April Jollies, our first public event of the year 2004, went off exceptionally well and in this issue we bring to you a brief report and a few written and visual glimpses into the event. We had raised funds for a meeting proposed for non-urban lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, through the April Jollies, the last issue of SCRIPTS, and individual donations, and many of you had contributed generously towards this organising. We would like to thank all of you deeply for making this meeting possible. The meeting was held in July 2004 in collaboration with VIKALP, Baroda and MANJHAL, Delhi and around twenty women/trans persons could participate in it. Though smaller in numbers than we had expected and planned for, the meeting was a very special experience.
As LABIA, we hope to be able to hold more such meetings and extend the space (for meeting other lesbian and trans women and sharing our lives and realities) that we sometimes begin to take for granted. Our strength has to be connection that is pliant to the nuances of class, language and gender differences amongst us, and we see this meeting as a small step in our work that needs to be done. Due to the smaller numbers at the meeting, we have some money left over from the amount that we managed to raise. We have reserved it for such meetings in the future. Several LABIAns managed this year to finally go to Calcutta and have a gala old time connecting with the Sapphists and other groups. It is an incredible feeling to make personal and political connections with diverse women from around the country, and we are hopeful, given our perpetual optimism, of a big national meet of lesbian, bisexual and trans women very soon. And if you want to join in, just call us or write!
Amongst other things, this summer also caused much anger and disgust at the release and subsequent “ban” by the Shiv Sena, of that most atrocious film, “Girlfriend.” The liberal communities of the country joined hands with LGBT groups in criticising both the film maker and the right-wingers. We almost began to long for the times of “Fire.” It all passed though and we hope that the next mainstream venture will be somewhat more connected with our realities, or a good love story, which we will be able to watch without being disgusted or sick.
A very dear friend and fellow activist Famila passed away on July 16, 2004. She was a hijra identified queer-feminist activist whose presence, politics and work, were beacons and comrades. The shift of the political and personal landscapes that her absence creates is difficult to express. We mourn her and as we put this issue together to time it with LARZISH II, we remember her presence and words at this time last year. Her absence is as much cause for self-reflection as for resolve, and memory that of an elephant when not an errant thief. We share our love and pain with all of you who have also felt this connection, bewilderment, anger and grief. May we be able to share our visions too.
Soon there will be a review petition in the Sec. 377 of the I. P. C. case in Delhi High Court and hope that this time better sense and liberal thought will prevail. It is time that the law of this country changed to bring us all some semblance of civil rights. On the bright side though, our voices are increasing in number and in diversity. If we can learn to listen to these nuanced differences and base our politics on such thought, we will be a strong movement/s.
So on and so forth folks. Meanwhile though, it is time to exhort you to send in your writings and many thanks to all who have contributed this time. If you want to get in touch with any of our writers please write to us at email@example.com. We will forward your notes to them.
Till dykedom come,
Shalini, for the LABIA editorial team.
Editorial, 27th October, 2004.