#LGBTQIA

‘Outcast’ To ‘Purple Skies’: Must-Watch Indian Documentaries On Queer Community

Indian Documentaries On LGBTQIA Community
The 2018 Supreme Court verdict is a landmark judgement since the draconian IPC section 377 was struck down. The verdict of the apex court overturned part of the 19th Century law introduced by the British that penalized sex “against the order of nature” as a crime punishable by life imprisonment.

A long-drawn legal battle later the queer community managed to overturn the law that had existed for 157 years. However, the question arises of whether Indian society has accepted the queer community? They don’t. Four years since homosexuality was decriminalised, the queer community still faces violence at the hands of families, friends; even the law enforcement agencies like the police.

Pop culture can be a great aid in making people aware of the spectrum of the LGBTQIA+ community. Although there is a multitude of fictionalised stories, the documentaries are substantiation of the lived realities of queer persons.  These documentaries made by coveted Indian filmmakers are a must-watch!

Indian Documentaries On LGBTQIA Community

Desire?

Ever heard of asexuality? Do you have an understanding of what asexuality is? Ace folks are those who either have very low or no desire for sexual activities and are not sexually attracted to people. They however can form romantic and emotional bonds.

Desire? by Garima Kaul lays bare for the audience lived realities of the community identifying as asexual. Kaul traces the journeys of ace folks from different parts of India, their lives, love and relationships and the endless conundrum of identity.

The documentary takes one through the world from the perspective of the individuals featured in the documentary and how they navigate through life as they create ruptures in the culture of global hypersexuality.

Indian Documentaries on LGBTQIA Community

Still from Desire? (PBST)

Toward Hope

Director Bhargav Lahkar, in his directorial debut, brought forth the story of an Assamese trans-man which spanned two countries—India and the United States. Milin Dutta, a trans-man from Guwahati, Assam recalls the journey of his life.

Dutta who was assigned female at birth opens up to Bhargav, by extension to the audience, about his life and his journey of transitioning as he pilots his life between his birthplace and workplace in Minneapolis.


Suggested Reading: The Jasmine Throne To Carry On: 6 Queer Fantasy Books To Read This Pride Month


Outcast

Directed by Anita Singh, the documentary focuses on the travesty of justice that was displayed before Section 377 was finally overturned in 2018. Delhi High Court decriminalised homosexuality in 2009. However, everything came undone when Supreme Court reversed the decision in 2013 because of the socio-religious groups’ appeal.

However, the decision to overturn the judgement now jeopardised the lives of many queer persons who had come out of the closet in the duration; the prospect of them being treated as criminals in their country was daunting. The documentary understands the impact it has had on the community and people’s lives.

indian documentaries on LGBTQIA Community

Still from Outcast (The Hindu)

Please Mind The Gap

Please Mind the Gap is a Mitali Trivedi and Gagandeep Singh documentary which moves through the space of Delhi Metro as it delves into the life of transman Anshuman and how gender is performed in that public space.

Funded by Public Service Broadcasting Trust, the documentary follows Anshuman as they travel through the public transport, their tryst with anxiety around being frisked, what gender queue to line up in, the anxiety about the choice of the public toilet along with remarks from people—teasing, jeering and even threats.

All of these choices are an overt manifestation of the internal turmoil of transgender persons as they navigate through the categorised gender rules often divided into binaries. The documentary interestingly juxtaposes the covert and overt turmoil in a public transport space.

Purple Skies

It is no surprise that queer community has faced violence and Section 377 was used as a tool to intimidate, coerce and persecute people from the gender and sexuality spectrum. Sridhar Rangayan through his film Purple Skies focuses on the lives of women, transmen and genderqueer persons beginning from 2007 until 2013.

The film traces the journeys of the queer persons’ self-expression through normative and non-normative ways and the turbulence that informs such lives and was created out of a series of interviews with people from the queer community.

Sridhar Rangayan was commissioned to make this 66-minute-long documentary by the Public Service Broadcasting Trust. It was the first documentary on the queer community that was broadcast on Doordarshan.

Indian documentaries on LGBTQIA Community

Still from Purple Skies (PBST)