Queerness is very much rooted in the identity of the Indian subcontinent.
Through scriptures such as the Kama Sutra, Mahabharata, and Artha-sastra. To the carvings of queer scenes all over temples throughout South Asia alongside the queer Urdu poetry known as Rekhti and Rekhta. This freedom of expression of sexuality and gender all changed with the British Raj introducing Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), dating back to 1861, making sexual activities “against the order of nature” punishable by law and carrying a life sentence. This law was abolished in September 2018. The British enacted similar laws throughout the empire, such as the Sexual Offences Act in Trinidad and Tobago, which prohibited “buggery”. This law was also abolished in 2018 with many others following suit.
But how does all of this impact queer identity in the diasporic experience?
These two films shine a light on queer voices of the Indo-Caribbean & South Asian diaspora.
Happening both in-house on 22nd October at our lovely cinema in the CCA and if you would rather watch it at home it’s available to watch here from the 22nd till the 27th of October.
Please fill out our survey when you have a moment
Content Warning: PG-13 - Mentions of Racial Abuse, Discrimination and Slurs
Khush (Pratibha Parmar, 1991)
खुश | khush | meaning happy, ecstatic, merry, gay
For queer South Asians, the term encapsulates the intricacies of being queer and of colour. This uplifting documentary conveys the unremitting joys and solidarity of being khush and the exhilaration of a culturally rooted experience of sexuality.
Queer Coolie-tudes (Michelle Mohabeer, 2019)
A creative essay and documentary and queer ethnography tracing the intergenerational lives, histories, identities, familial relations and sexualities of a diverse range of subjects from the Indo-Caribbean diaspora in Canada.
The first documentary feature by a queer woman of colour on this topic.
Interviews with Michelle Mohabeer are linked below.