What is Qashti?
Qashti is a queer and feminist collective of lesbian, bisexual, trans*, queer and intersex/intergender (LBTQI) people assigned female at birth. Through organizing a wide variety of social events and running an LBTQI-focussed helpline we work to build an intentional social space and resource center for LBTQI people. Qashti was founded in 2011 and is based in New Delhi.
Qashti is an intersectional feminist social space and resource center for lesbian, bisexual, trans*, queer and intersex/intergender (LBTQI) people assigned female at birth. We are a collective of LBTQI people that bring attention to the specific complexities of LBTQI life in India. We seek to create an alternative platform to rights-based activism, in order to make room for LBTQI community-building, wellness and play. As a group, we aim to enact a feminism that learns from other social justice movements such as anti-caste movements, trans- and sex workers’ movements, in India and globally. We seek to serve our LBTQI communities reflectively and responsibly.
As a collective, Qashti’s work is guided by certain principles through which we link our activities and vision to larger questions of social and economic justice:
- Collective functioning. Qashti is dedicated to collective action and decision-making. This is with the awareness that LBTQI people have not historically had, and do not currently have, access to institutional spaces. We work as a collective and share our resources in order to enhance the sustainability and self-sufficiency of LBTQI communities.
- Queer and feminist practice. We recognize the urgent need for an intersectional queer and feminist practice that challenges patriarchy and the multiple ways it affects us as LBTQI people in India. However, we are also mindful of feminism’s and the queer movement’s own entanglements with nationalism and caste, class and gender hierarchies. Hence, we seek to further discussions on and create LBTQI spaces that cut across these differences. To this end, we aspire to make meaningful connections with other social justice movements (specifically the Dalit, trans, and sex workers’ movements), and hold ourselves and our work accountable to their critical perspectives.
- LBTQI. Qashti is a space dedicated to lesbian, bisexual, trans*, and queer people assigned female at birth. While we recognize that not all trans* people identify as female-born, we use that term to indicate that we exist as a source of support for those people who were/are seen and socialized as female. We aim to address the unique issues faced by such people both in larger society and in the national LGBT movement. The legal battle for decriminalization of homosexuality, as well as the NGO funding to combat AIDS in India, have led to a focus on gay male or MTF lives. Qashti sees the need to create a space for the people who were not historically granted access to these resources, but who face their own considerable battles with misogyny, homophobia and transphobia. To be clear – At this point, Qashti’s membership only includes people assigned female at birth, but we are committed to fighting misogyny and gender-based discrimination across identities. Thus we seek to be supportive allies to the empowerment of transwomen, MTFs, genderqueer, hijra and kothi communities in India and globally.
- Funding. So far, Qashti has been supported financially by the LBTQI community we are a part of. We use funds for our events and meetings and to operate our volunteer-run helpline. We are committed to remaining independent, non-corporate and non-politically funded, so that we can make the needs of our community, and not the needs of our funders, our only priority.
- Sex-positive. In the current context of increased government censorship, we are committed to creating a judgment-free space that celebrates LBTQI sexualities. We are a sex-positive group that supports everyone’s right to access, practice and speak about their bodies, sex and desires. We understand that LBTQI sexual liberation is tied up with the liberation of other criminalized groups. We stand in support of sex-workers’ rights to live without stigma and violence, and to work for fair pay.
Qashti uses these principles as touchstones to guide our decisions about what causes and activities we put our efforts towards. We aim to work with and learn from others who share our commitment to these principles.
Centre for Women’s Studies (CWS), JawaharLal Nehru University (JNU) is organizing s seminar Living Together, Dying Together: The Lesbian as a Political Subject by Navaneetha Mokkil (Assistant Professor – CWS-JNU).
Navaneetha Mokkil’s paper will analyze the political mobilization on “lesbian suicides” from late 1990s in Kerala. Analyzing activist documentation on lesbian suicides, the paper seeks to pursue the questions: What does it mean to produce a discourse around lesbian sexuality that has at its centre the event of suicide and the specters of women whose lives could have been saved? What is the impetus behind the recording of the lives of two women who are beyond the pale of any politics? What are the narrative tropes through which the lesbian as a figure surfaces in the public sphere of post-1990s Kerala? The analysis straddles a close reading of the form and content of the oral narratives and a meta-critical analysis of the politics of conducting and publishing these interviews.
Date: October 29th 2014
Time: 3 pm
Venue: Room 227, SSS-I, JNU (New Mehrauli Road, New Delhi, Delhi 110067)
VENUE: Room 227, SSS-I, JNU
Qashti is hosting a movie Marathon. We have made an effort to put together queer (not necessarily LGBT, but all kinds of queerness like disability, marginalization, alternate sexual practices and professions, etc.) films from the Global South (Africa, Latin America, and developing Asia including the Middle East). We will have some films curated by IAWRT at Our Lives… to live (OLTOL) and Pirat Dykes/BQFF and few other film festivals.
6 pm to 9 pm
10 pm to 12 midnight
1 pm to 3 am
4 am to 6 am
Please see: 1.) There will be a provision to sleep so people can stay back. But they may have to leave by 6 am(it depends on the venue). Once we have a final guest list, we may ask people to get gaddas/mattresses, and sleeping bags as well (depending on the availabilty of gaddas etc) 2.) It is a BYOD & F event (Bring Your Own Drinks and Food). We will also have some drinks, munchies and food. Very important: Qashti is a safe space for lesbian, bisexual and trans people assigned female at birth. Qashti has a strong anti-sexual harassment policy which will apply at the this event as well. Sign up for the event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/473382606132829/?notif_t=plan_user_joined Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Qashti- a space for queer women and trans people is hosting a movie Marathon. We have made an effort to put together queer (not necessarily LGBT, but all kinds of queerness like disability, marginalization, alternate sexual practices and professions, etc.) films from the Global South (Africa, Latin America, and developing Asia including the Middle East).
We will have some films curated by IAWRT at Our Lives… to live (OLTOL) and Pirat Dykes/BQFF and few other film festivals.
6pm to 9 pm
One hour Dinner and drinks break!
10pm to 12 midnight
One hour break
1pm to 3am
One hour break
4am to 6 am
Tata Bye Bye
1.) There will be a provision to sleep so people can stay back. But they have to leave by 6 am. Once we have a final guest list, we may ask people to get gaddas/mattresses and sleeping bags as well.
2.) It is a BYOD & F event (Bring Your Own Drinks and Food). We will also have some drinks, munchies and food.
Very important: Qashti is a safe space for lesbian, bisexual and trans people assigned female at birth. Qashti has a strong anti-sexual harassment policy which will apply at the this event as well.
Join us for another film screening this Sunday (22nd September) at 4 pm.
Venue will be sent to those who confirm on Facebook ‘Qashti Lbt’ or email us at email@example.com.
We will have some food and non-alcoholic drinks, but feel free to bring more for yourself or to share!
Qashti had announced last month that soon a safe space exclusively for trans*, genderqueer and butch people would be started. Get ready folks, because it’s finally here.
Say hello and break the ice! Let’s get to know one another and discuss what we want from a space like this. We will also briefly discuss the recent Supreme Court judgement on transgender rights and what it means for us. Come join us for chai, snacks and conversation and bring your ideas along. Let’s get this started!
Venue details will be sent privately to those who confirm. You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to bring friends, but keep in mind that the trans* meetup aims to be a safe space for trans*, genderqueer and butch folks assigned female at birth. Hope to see all of you there!
Location: New Delhi
Date: Sunday, 4th May 2014.
Time: 4-7 PM
जगह – नयी दिल्ली
दिन – रविवार, ४ मई २०१४
समय – शाम ४ – ७
Inviting LBT students who are currently studying or have recently studied on Delhi campuses to a fill out a survey as part of a study on the resilience strategies adopted by LGBTQIA on Delhi campuses
If interested, go here:
The next Matargashti event is a Writing Workshop conducted by T.P. Sabitha.
Details: April 27th from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
About the workshop: The workshop will deal with first person narratives. The emphasis will also be on fictionalising these autobiographical first person narratives and writing them in the third person. The language used in the workshop will be English. People interested in attending the workshop are requested to confirm at the earliest, and also to indicate their language preference, if other than English, so that reading material can be circulated via email and arrangements can be made.
Please note: Qashti is a safe space for lesbian, bisexual and trans people assigned female at birth.
Please send an email to email@example.com and the details about the workshop and venue will be sent to you privately. You can also check out the event on https://www.facebook.com/events/1419000898360533/?ref_dashboard_filter=upcoming
Picture source: http://www.christabanister.com/for-writers/
Our acclaimed fellow LBT organisation, Sappho for Equality will soon be conducting a study in Delhi. They write:
“Sappho for Equality has planned a national level study to understand LBT lives, aspirations, and apprehensions in context to the changing social, political and particularly legal realities of this moment, to work out a tangible way forward.
In this context we are requesting you to help us organise a few in-depth interviews with LBT persons and focus-group discussions with organisations that work either directly with LBT focus or sexuality focus where LBT issues are included. We would like to meet ten individuals and two organisations if possible.
It would be very helpful for us if we could arrange the interviews during our stay in Delhi from 9th to 13th April. We are looking forward to working with you.”
Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us during our helpline hours if you would like to take part!