Mark your calendars because the Queer Carnival is this Sunday!
Most members of the Queer community look forward to finding safe places while studying in schools and colleges. As most of us experience bullying, loneliness, and confusion, we yearn for like-minded people to talk to and share thoughts with. When I was at college and grappling with a lot of mixed feelings, I was fortunate to have been introduced to something positive and supportive like the ‘Queer Campus’ group.
I met my senior Thushar at the Book Club in 2013; he wanted me to accompany him to a Queer Campus meeting. I was completely unfamiliar with the queer community at that time as I hadn’t met anyone from it nor had I heard much about its activities. But, joining QC made me realise who I really am, helped me explore myself, and provided me the space to grow. And for that, I have always been thankful to Thushar!
There is much to discover about the Queer Campus. The Sunday Carnival on 22nd October, QC’s 6th year anniversary, is being organised by the group after a long break.
In 2011, two close friends, Anurag and Ria, were hunting for a safe place where to discuss and talk about their issues as queer individuals. They couldn’t find any youth-specific queer space which could be used. So, they decided to create a space where students could come and talk about their problems. On 22nd October 2011, the Queer Campus had its first meeting at the Swabhava Trust with three people present. In fact, at this first meeting, Ria, Anurag and their friend Akash, spent time trying to pronounce the word ‘queer’. In this episode, Anurag laughs at that memory. And, gradually, QC grew, with many queer students coming in and celebrating themselves and others like them.
The Queer Campus is plural and diverse. At QC meetings, people are welcome to share about their lives, whether it is about coming out to parents, or about one’s love stories, or one’s crush lists. We have amazing activities like ‘Quicknicks’, which are picknicks for QC members; ‘QOLOURS’, events where you can get paint and paper to create whatever you feel like; there are interesting movie screenings, game sessions, and more. It is a space where you can be as colourful as you possibly can be.
Anurag mentions that there is a significant need for spaces like the Queer Campus where to remove our socially acceptable masks and be our true selves. Because, all the other time, we live in a space whose rules are suffocating. We do not have schools and colleges which are queer-sensitive or responsible about their queer students.
The Queer Campus had its biggest success in 2011 when it organised the first Queer Carnival. It was heartening to watch people bringing their parents to the event, and these parents showing acceptance for the diversity. In 2012, 2013 and 2014, the QC collaborated with the Bangalore Pride and organised the Diversity Fair. Now after a 2-year break, the Queer Campus is back with the Queer Carnival, a place where one can find good music, good people, great dancers, singers, and poets showcasing their impressive talents. You will find stalls around the carnival – if you are a bibliophile, you will be able to buy books; if you are a food lover, you will be able to explore some delicious dishes here. You can bring along your friends and family members to enjoy a Sunday filled with fabulous people.
Written by RJ Shilok Shivanya.