Queer Kashmiris are building community amidst conflict

Pride and Prejudice

22-09-2021 • 28 mins

Two years since the abrogation of article 370, the Indian government is making moves to hold elections in the union territories of J&K and Ladakh. But in a region known for conflict, what is it like to be queer? Dr Aijaz says that not only is it difficult to build safe spaces for queer people in Kashmir, access to these spaces are impeded by curfews, communication blackouts and violence.

In this episode of ‘Pride & Prejudice,’ our reporter Suryatapa Mukherjee speaks to Dr Aijaz, the founder of Sonzal Welfare Trust. Sonzal is an NGO for LGBTQIA+ people in Kashmir that provides a range of legal support, mental health programs, crisis intervention and vocational training. Aijaz speaks about the history of queer culture in Kashmir, the daily realities of queers in Kashmir, as well as the impact of queerphobia, Islamophobia and regional conflict on his life.

Additional reading:

Prohibit Attempts To Medically ‘Cure’ Or Change Sexual Orientation Of LGBTQIA+ People : Madras High Court
Best of Chinki Minki ( Kashmiri Singers )

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