Instagram has emerged as a safe space for people to share their lives, and especially so for the Indian LGBTQI community who remain under the rule of the archaic Section 377, that criminalises their love.
TLC has been watching the Insta-space and found 10 of India’s young and fearless accounts run by members of the LGBTQI community who raise their voice, showcase their talents and let the world know that silence is not an option they’re willing to consider.
From the many Indian queer Instagram accounts that are downright gorgeous, moving and deserving of support, here are 10 of TLC’s favourites:
Professional makeup artist Rohit Singh’s Instagram account is a haven for makeup lovers and artists alike. Why it earns a spot on this list, is that be it runway or bridal makeup, the artist is on the way to busting all kinds of gender stereotypes by giving gender neutral makeup a prominent space in his collection.
This artist-poet from Mumbai has a super active Instagram account featuring her stunning illustrations, many of which are accompanied by poetry.
Artwhoring’s account directly reflects the illustrator’s ideological leanings: she’s a proud feminist, supports mental health and body positivity, and is a dedicated supporter and advocate for all things Queer.
At the age of 6, all the boys played cricket. I wanted to play, too. They'd give me their bat when it was my chance but they soon found it annoying. So once, at a nearby construction taking place, I found an iron rod and that was my new bat. I can't imagine how I used something as thin as a rod for a bat, but I did. Until one day, the rusted rod cut my hands and my dad saw. He then bought me a bat. My question: Why not buy me a bat when you already knew my friends played cricket. Why buy me a doll with a flat stomach, blue eyes and blonde hair? At 10, I joined football classes. My dad was a district level player. He'd go down to play with the neighbour's kids. Never me. When I asked him why? He'd wave it off as me not being good enough or him being tired. He used to play defence. I played defence, too. We just never played together or watched matches. Sometimes I think, does he want a son? Or would I be treated differently if I was a boy? At 12, I was at my dad's office and a client of his saw me and my sister and asked whether dad had a son? Dad said no. The client then sympathised and said try harder, you'll surely get a son. Dad said "My daughters are better than any sons." We live in a world where you have to compensate for the existence of two daughters with a son or justify the existence of two girls. At 15, I cut my hair into a mohawk and faced ridicule at my house and school. My parents refused to look at me and kids at school jeered at me. If you try to change the dynamics of everyday life or try to change society or gender roles even through something as menial as a hair style, you're gonna be punished. Long hair. Girls were supposed to have long hair. I don't like adhering to norms. At 16, I go swimming, where little girls, wear a swim suit and then a shirt under a swim suit and then lycra tights too. While boys jump in with bare minimum clothing. Some boys having boobs bigger than mine. Because obviously my body can't be exposed because it will either turn you on or offend you and as such, society deemed this to be a woman's problem. I hope we are seeing what's wrong here. I hope you're doing your little part in not enforcing gender roles.
I had the wonderful opportunity to watch @alokvmenon perform at St. Xavier's College's media fest- Zeitgeist ( IT WAS AMAZING AND POWERFUL AND I LITERALLY HAD GOOSEBUMPS I WAS INTERNALLY SCREAMING) and got to present them with an illustration I made and got called talented (AGAIN SCREAMING INTERNALLY). @alokvmenon you're such an inspiration. Thank you for speaking up for all of us.💕💁🏽💪🏾✊🏾💖 #AlokVaidMenon #Illustration #Art #Artist #Draw #DigitalArt #Alok #SpokenWord #SpokenWordPoetry #PerformancePoetry #Voices #Activist #TransRights #TransFemmeRights #TransFemmeActivist #Feminist #Feminism #CurryScentedBitch #Desi #BrownGirls #PoC #WoC #lgbt #queer #lgbtq #love #pastel #returnthegayze
The Instagram account of a unique Kolkata-based queer-friendly cafe and art space, Amra Odbhuth Queer Cafe, resonates with empathy, openness and overall queer-positivity.
Apart from featuring some very cool artwork, this account is an excellent source of information about the cafe’s the queer-friendly event.
When she’s not busy delivering drag performances, Maya, a Malayalee drag queen based out of Bangalore, is also managing an active Instagram account. For an insight into Maya’s life, photos from her performances and details about upcoming shows, follow her and learn a little something about the drag performance scene in India.
Alright my babies, when the camera is ready. Strike a pose, Make it fierce, Make it werk. 💝 Check out "Indian Vogue" in my bio. Creative Direction: @xen.aerat DOP: @abhijnarn #Mayamma #mayathedragqueen #indiandragqueen #dragperformer #dragperfection #drag #dragqueen #rupaul #rupaulsdragrace #rupaulbots #rupaulbotstour #rupaulsdragraceseason9 #rupauls #instagood #madonna #vogue #performer #gay #dreamscomingtrue #fabulous #fierce #queenoflove #musicvideo #veronicascarhol #annie #instadrag #instadragqueen
Serving Bharat Mata Realness! 😘 Can't wait to see the final edit @mad.monk.maya Styling and Picture Courtesy: @sumalikavj #Mayamma #mayathedragqueen #indiandragqueen #dragperformer #dragperfection #drag #dragqueen #rupaul #rupaulsdragrace #rupaulbots #rupaulbotstour #rupaulsdragraceseason9 #rupauls #instagood #photoshoot #independenceday #bharatmata #malayalee #dramaqueen #queenoflove #gay #fabulous #love #instalike #instagay #instadrag #instadragqueen
Featuring bold, daring and gorgeous pictures of the cross-dressing ‘runaway muse’ as he calls himself, Taksh Sharma’s Instagram blog sure is a treat for the eyes, busting all kinds of stereotypes about gender and sexuality. The account’s message for followers is clear: have the courage to be yourself.
Yesterday I got to go out, look exactly how I wanted to look, recieved(what I hope were) genuine compliments, met beautiful queer bbys and enjoyed the sun set behind the Qutub. I heard @vqueer exclaim "how can one not love Delhi". I nodded my head in enthusiastic agreement. My sister (@tabahi_panda )picked out the dress I ended up wearing. Srija took this picture and for the first time in a long time I truly didn't care what I would look like when the photo came out. All I knew is that I wanted to smile. So I gave her the biggest, most unguarded grin I could muster. I'm thankful for yesterday. It makes me happy to be happy. #girlslikeus #transfemme #femmeaesthetic #fashion #streetstyle
The Instagram handle of Galaxy Magazine reflects the content and tone of this LGBTQIA publication. It celebrates the triumphs and aspirations of India’s queer community and chronicles its many achievements and victories while highlighting the challenges that members of the queer community face every day.
Forty year old Dnyaneshwar Kamble has become the first transgender in Maharashtra to be elected as a village Sarpanch. Known as Mauli, was declared elected in the gram panchayat elections in Tarangfal village of Solapur. Kamble was contesting on a BJP ticket. These sarpanch elections were the first direct one to the post in Maharashtra under the Maharashtra Gram Panchayat Act of 1958. Until now, the sarpanch had been elected from among elected representatives. Kamble polled 868 votes and defeated her NCP rival Jaysingh Salve by 167. #transgender #politician #trans #TransRights #maharashtra #elections #sarpanch #india #politics #progress
Sabi, born as MK Giri, had joined the Marine Engineering Department of the Indian Navy at Visakhapatnam as an 18 years old young man in 2010. However, she never quite felt she belonged to the body she was born in, and her feelings grew stronger after she joined the Indian Navy. A few years into service, Sabi decided she had to undergo Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS) and become a woman. She initially contacted the doctors within the Navy at Visakhapatnam, who refused to help her. She then decided to consult a private psychiatrist and psychologist in Visakhapatnamin 2016, who diagnosed her with Gender Identity Disorder. Armed with the medical opinion, Sabi took 22 days leave from service and went to Delhi to have her SRS. Her sex change operation was successfully completed on 26th October 2016 and she came back to her naval base after 15 days. The Navy has decided to discharge her from Service because of her Gender identity. Read her complete story by visiting www.gaylaxymag.com #navy #IndianNavy #transgender #transrights #socialJustice #TransLivesMatters #TransEmployement #india #DefenceServices #TransgenderSoldier
A unique group of people identifying as queer or allies, Yaariyan’s Instagram blog is a bubble of positivity, spreading messages of love and countering hate speech and violence of all forms.
Yaariyan and YVC core members at the #NoPlace4Hate event by facebook and @yvc_official. A wonderful event comprising of a panel discussion with some influential social media personalities who face online hate and bullying on a regular basis followed by some personal stories of online hate and how those people handled it. #SpreadLoveNotHate #Tolerance #OnlineSafety
If #MonstersInc was a Bollywood movie and @priyankachopra was cast as #Sulley 💙💎👸🏽💎💙 BIG APPLAUSE to @edaa_birthing for showcasing her new collection at @mcachicago #PrimeTime last night, for the closing of @takashipom's #TheOcotopusEatsItsOwnLeg 🐙👁🌺👁🐙 obviously wearing @edaa_birthing, hair from @ardawigs via @nicozworld and nails by @kenziecoulee 💜 #drag #dragqueen #clubkid #gay #trans #nonbinary #femme #girlslikeus #model #fur #furry #monster #monsterhigh #takashimurakami #murakami #art #fashion #priyankachopra #bollywood #indiandragqueen #mca makeup #mua
Delhi’s academic circles associate Vqueeram Aditya Sahai with his firm stance as an LGBTQIA supporter. We additionally know him as a sartorial sensation. Trust: his style is on point. His Insta blog gives you a great insight into his life, beliefs and ideology.
This Instagram handle is the embodiment of trans-positivity. Aiming to empower and encourage India’s highly stigmatised trans community through visual arts and socially inclusive experiments, this handle gives much-needed visibility to India’s minority trans-community.
"There are a lot of NGOs that do good work for the transgender community, but it has always been confined to four walls. This is the first time the issue is out on the streets and public places for everyone to see. We want to change peoples' perspective about us, or at least give them a new one. We aren't aliens, we are born from wombs, too. That's what Aravani Art Project is trying to achieve- awareness and acceptance for a community that people are hesitant to include." . As said by Shonali, a good friend now and a person from the Transgender Community from Pune. 💚 . . . #aravaniartproject #stories #transgenderpeopleofcolour #love #together #wallart #publicart #communityart #asianpaints #stopdiscrimination #activism #artforacause
"feelings are real, gender is not" What a beautiful saying by @alokvmenon Everyday is a new battle we strive and fight for justice, peace and simply existence. All we need to do is accept, embrace and understand. Is that tough? • • #transart #movement #aravaniartproject #artisforall #artandjustice #artandpeace #transgenderpeopleofcolour #gendernonconforming #art #artivism #people #faces #feelings
Queerkala, a platform for artists identifying as queer to showcase their talent, has a vibrant Instagram account, thrumming with queer positivity. Bonus: you can catch pictures of some beautiful artwork on this blog.