#LGBTQIA

10 Indian Queer influencers You Should Follow On Instagram

top queer influencers

Instagram has emerged as a social space where individuals are able to voice their opinions, express themselves through their content and raise awareness about various issues. Many of them have acquired influence over Instagram users with their quality content. Social media has also given space to the queer community, not only to be seen and heard but also educate other people.

There are many influencers from the queer community in India too, who are shattering rigid societal norms and stereotypes. They don’t shy away from embracing and taking pride in their real self and express themselves freely. These queer influencers on Instagram educate their audience through art, illustrations, poetry and/or other content not only about queer advocacy but also various other socio-political issues.

So, here are 10 Indian queer influencers on Instagram you should follow:

Priyanka Paul

 

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Priyanka Paul, aka @artwhoring is a self-taught poet, writer, storyteller, illustrator and content creator. She belongs to the Bahujan community and is well-known for her advocacy of social and political justice on grounds of caste, gender and other identities. The 22-year-old artist has achieved recognition on a global level for her amazing artworks which reflect progressive, bold and edgy perspective towards women empowerment. Moreover, her grit and resolve to stand by her beliefs and stance and advocate against caste-based atrocities and other types of casteist normalisation in spite of the coordinated slander by far-right wing trolls make us respect her even more.

Also Read: India’s Women Artists: Meet the Artist-Activist Priyanka Paul

Durga Gawde

Durga Gawde is an artist, drag performer and educator. Durga is one of the very few people who popularised gender-neutral fashion in India. Identifying as a non-binary gender-fluid person, Gawde’s pronouns are they/them/their. Holding a degree in fine arts (sculpture) from Rhode Island School of Design, USA, they have emerged as a popular activist whose content raises awareness about gender fluidity through their own experiences. “Don’t forget that you are the winning sperm, you beat more odds in order to be alive in this world, than you will ever have to deal with while you are alive,” they said in an interview.

Rishi Raj

 

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Rishi Raj, going by the username @the.chick.maharani, is an intersectional LGBTQIAP+ and anti-caste activist, poet and educator. Rishi’s pronouns are he/him/his as well as they/them/their. Settled in Delhi, he belongs to the Bahujan community and has used his online presence to educate netizens about caste and queer issues through his poems, videos and captions. Although he was outed by his neighbour at the age of 14, it didn’t stop him from becoming the bold and opinionated person he is today, and taking immense pride in who he is.

Sushant Divgikar/Rani KoHEnur

Sushant Divgikar is a popular model, actor, video jockey and performer who has appeared in a number of television shows. Above all he is an LGBTQIA+ activist and a drag performer. In 2014, he won Mr Gay India and represented India at Mr Gay World. Apart from presenting a lot of shows on television, he participated in Sa Re Ga Ma Pa 2018 as a contestant.

He is currently involved with auditioning, mentoring and training young drag queens. His goal is to make drag a more accessible and respected art form in India.

Divgikar joined Rainbow Riots in 2019, a global organisation and artist collective working for LGBTQ equality and rights. In the same year, he released the single I’m Coming Out during Stockholm Pride. Recently, he also released his first independent single Diamond.

Dr. Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju

With 121K followers on Instagram (@ind0ctrination), Dr. Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju is one of the most celebrated queer influencers on social media. She also has a Youtube channel – The Trinetra Method. She extensively uses her social media presence to raise awareness and educate people about topics like gender, sexuality, feminism and various other such issues through her content which reflects her own experiences. She is an intersectional activist who stands up for the underprivileged and marginalised sections of the society. Furthermore, she has never inhibited herself from expressing her views on the socio-political scenario of the country. She has lately started collaborating with various other content creators like Kusha Kapila and Srishti Dixit to create more inclusive content in the mainstream popular media. Dr Trinetra has recently completed her medical degree from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal and broke the glass ceiling by being the first trans woman surgeon in Karnataka.

Also Read: Pornography Reduces Transwomen to a Fetish: Trinetra Haldar on Sex and Pleasure

Maitrayanee Mahanta

 

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Maitrayanee Mahanta is a rising social media influencer, hailing from Assam. She is a content writer, model and artist who is pursuing her masters and preparing for UPSC exams simultaneously. She and her partner, Neeta (@gypsymilady) are one of the most beloved couples in the online circuit of North-East India. They will feature in the music video Raahi by Ritviz. They have also collaborated twice with Dolly Singh.They will also feature in a music video Lullaby, by Trivarg Arandhara, an indie artist from Guwahati. She will also sing a few verses of the song. Her photoshoots are an outlet of her queer expression and love for her partner.

Anwesh Sahoo

Artist, blogger, model, dancer and motivational speaker Anwesh Sahoo won Mr Gay World India 2016, becoming the youngest winner of the crown at the age of 20. He also represented India at the Mr Gay World 2016 pageant and made it to the Top 12. Completing his degree from National Institute of Fashion Technology, Delhi, he also works as a manager (visual design specialist) at HDFC bank.  He posts his beautiful illustrations and photoshoots depicting gender non-conformity, gay pride and much more on his art account @the.effeminare.

Alok Menon

 

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Alok Menon is one of the pioneers of ungendered fashion worldwide. Identifying as a gender non-conforming person, Alok’s pronouns are they/them/their. Menon is an author, performer, fashionista, model, media personality and motivational speaker. A jack of all trades, they use a blend of art, fashion design, comedy, sound art, ramp shows social media and various other forms of expressions to convey their views and activism, and explore themes of gender, sexuality, race, human existence and pain. With global presence in over 40 countries, they strongly advocate breaking the rigid and binary gender norms and raise awareness about body diversity and gender neutrality. The works which they have authored are Beyond the Gender binary, Femme in Public and ‘Entertainment Value’ in Unwatchable. Menon has also walked for several renowned brands and has appeared in fashion magazines and editorials of VOGUE, Bust Magazine and Paper Magazine.

Alex Mathew

Alex Mathew aka Maya is a LBGTQ+ influencer, singer and drag queen. An actor and motivational speaker, Alex is also a theatre artist in Bengaluru who is also actively working to make drag art form more mainstream in our country since 2014. As a social media influencer,  Mathew uses his platform for queer advocacy. His content also aims at making members from his community aware of the fact that they aren’t alone and that they are an epitome of power and boldness. He shares his own experiences to amplify his activism and add more perspective and strength to his content.

Vivek Shraya

 

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Vivek Shraya is a trans artist, actor, musician, and author who also works as an assistant professor for creative writing iat University of Calgary, Canada. Her content ranges from music, literature, visual art and film. She is also the founder of publishing enterprise VS Books. Her award-winning book I’m Afraid Of Men published in 2018 explores how she was forced into masculinity due to her sex assigned at birth which traumatised her as a girl. It further delves into how we might view gender for this century and time to come. Furthermore, she continues to educate people about mental health, gender, sexuality, social and economic justice, representation of LGBTQ+ through her Instagram.  Shraya’s 2017 album, Part-Time Woman was a collaboration with the Queer Songbook Orchestra. It was named one of the 17 best Canadian albums of 2017 by CBC Arts and longlisted for the Polaris Music Prize in 2018.

Also Read: BornNoWay: Why Do We Need To Establish That Queerness Is Rigid From Birth To Be Valid?

Sugandha Bora is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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