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Number 08- Love Letters

                            Editorial, 8th January, 2006.

Dear friends, comrades and fellow queers,

As the year comes to an end, we have been working like elves (not fairies as some of members of the editorial team have been insisting) overtime after Christmas to put together this eighth (8th) issue of Scripts.

Eight is a nice round number and I'm sure many of us have had fun as children turning number eight into a rotund lady with a head and body that usually had no arms, legs or neck. This eighth issue of course bears little resemblance to that childhood rendering of a woman – it is however dedicated to women – by women. And it is with pride and pleasure that we announce the theme of this issue: Love letters.

Technically most magazines would be doing a year-ender around this time, but our year actually ended with the seventh issue that marked 10 years of Stree Sangam/LABIA, our group that has been an open circle for the coming and going of many queer minded people over the decade. We would hence like to see the theme of this issue in the light of the happenings of the few months that have gone by between issues.

Love, an emotion much cherished and talked about but also most policed and controlled. In a society where young men and women seeking each other’s company are beaten and humiliated by the police, forbidden love such as one shared between women, remains hidden, shamed and brutally attacked. The stories of young girls committing suicide and those of some who manage to get away also continue.

While even the British have now officially given legal recognition to same sex couples, section 377, their antiquated law left behind for us, continues to be protected by the State. While recognising individual rights to privacy, the State continues to uphold its right to restrict this right, as it is considered violative of public morality! The present Government led by the Congress and its allies and supported by the Left, came to power with support from people who believed that they were not as conservative and culturally right wing as the earlier BJP government.

On economic and development issues be it protection of jobs, unbridled progress of economic globalisation, entry to multinational corporations, demolition of slums, snatching of people’s minimum rights to earn their living through small businesses and hawking… in all of these anyways there is no difference between the Congress and the BJP and their respective allies. They are all as anti poor and pro right as can be. They imposed a ban on dancing in beer bars in Maharashtra and chose to render jobless and resourceless, thousands of women who earned their living through dancing because in their opinion this was against the “tradition of this society, was obscene, waylaid young innocent men (sic!) and led to domestic violence.” We at LABIA support the struggle of the bar dancers against this ban and reiterate our common cause with all those who fight against all kinds of human rights violations.

And for us as one of our friends said, “Love is a human rights issue.” So here we are with our theme of expression of that forbidden love between women, celebrating love over violation, choice over coercion, freedom over policing – love letters. The age old medium that has bridged the yawning chasm of time and space to unite loved ones in words. Words that have been carefully picked from the chaos of daily life to be presented before the loved one, like pearls glowing softly in the dim light of night lamps. Words that have been dredged and sorted from the seaweed that surrounds our heart – words that have been kept safe from prying eyes – secret words exchanged only between two individuals are now shared with you all in the open forum of this magazine.

We threw the house open for submissions, expecting, to quote the words of a certain Labian a lot of 'mush'. And while this issue has a sufficient amount of mush, it also has a lot of good poetry and a variety of writing in different languages that has used the letter as a format to convey various messages of love to loved ones present and past. A few writers have culled out letters from their realms of fantasy, while others have mixed both reality and fiction in a smooth blend…a bit like a mochachino. Nothing would be complete without images, and while letters are known for their doodles, we have gone a few steps further to provide illustrations and photographs to go with the writing, as has been the tradition of Scripts over the years.

So happy reading and may the creative ink of dykedom never run dry.

In solidarity, Georgina Maddox and Chayanika, For the LABIA editorial team