The Indian State of Maharashtra held its first LGBTQ+ literary festival, Sahitya Sammelan, in the local dialect of Marashi. Organized by the Samapathik Trust, people from across the LGBTQ+ spectrum were invited to share their stories of coming out, finding their identity, or anything else they wanted to discuss. The range of eleven speakers gave talks on a variety of issues to help give their audience the courage to speak out as well. Trans woman Sarang Punekar said “Now people will see me in a new light I hope, as a writer,” demonstrating the potential impact of such events. Over 100 people attended, from across all ages and walks of life. Visibility of LGBTQ+ people is vital in all forms of arts to help people feel accepted. With this being the first festival of its kind in the region, this largely conservative area of India might begin to foster more public acceptance of queer and trans people in the future. Creating spaces for minorities to express themselves is the first step to building more inclusive communities for all, including queer and trans women.
For Further Reading
Find out more about the organizers of the event on their website.
What do you think is more effective for building inclusive communities, starting with raising visibility in arts spaces or campaigning in political ones?
Take a look at the ways you access entertainment, like through books, film, TV. Were they created by people from the LGBTQ+ community? Try to actively incorporate diverse creators into your life to support inclusive spaces.