A Brief Reflection

Eminent activist, writer, and researcher Gautam Bhan presented a talk at the Biennale Pavilion on December 24. The talk, which was centred around what queerness can mean politically and socially for India, was equal parts informative, humourous, and poignant. Bhan anchored the talk around stories, of his own experiences as an activist, and those of his friends and peers. In turn, through these marginalised narratives, he shared critical reflections on the history of queer life and politics in India, as well as recent law and policy, from the overturning of Section 377 to the injustices of the Transgender Rights Bill.

The talk also invited several questions from the audience, that ranged from perceptive and thought-provoking, spurring historical tellings and personal anecdotes from the speaker, to prejudiced and uncomfortable, exposing the ubiquitous nature of queerphobia in contemporary society. Perhaps the range of discussion that evening reflected, in some way, the larger curatorial vision for the Pavilion: both a space for direct discussion that is not always pleasant and comfortable, and a platform for stories lesser told.