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Being Equal, Being Queer Rozana

 May 17th is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and you know what, agents? We’d like to see some pyaar, solidarity, acceptance, warmth and waaaay more ishq!
And we’d like to celebrate this day in our own little way, by kicking off a beautiful series of images that show queer people exactly as they are: sometimes talented, sometimes working hard, spending time with family and friends, strolling by the beach, watching TV, sometimes chilling, and sometimes, having a whale of a time!
Although the English language media in India is sensitive to LGBTQ issues, there is not enough representation of LGBTQ persons that goes beyond pride marches​ or a few key events. When writing about the community, media professionals find it difficult to get hold of appropriate images that are local and representative.
For this series, Agents of Ishq is collaborating with Yaariyan and Humsafar Trust to create diverse, more nuanced images of the LGBTQ community that will be part of the public domain, and free to use for any individual or media outlet. All you have to do is credit us.
The photos here are taken by Reshma Pritam Singh, who met some warm, wonderful people in Delhi and Mumbai who gave generously of their time, stories, and even food (burp!) in order to make this awesome project come together. This is the first part of a series of images made for you with love, agents. There will be more, so keep checking!
Aryan Pasha
Lawyer, transman, activist, Delhi. “All I am I owe to my mom” reads the tattoo across his bicep. His mother, Payal Pasha (right), has been his biggest champion.
Suhail Abbasi
Filmmaker, Founder Trustee at Humsafar Trust, gay man, and board member of Bombay Dost, an LGBT magazine. Likes to stroll on Bandstand, Mumbai.
Sushant Divgikar
Model, performer, former Bigg Boss contestant and Mr Gay World India winner, during the sound check before his drag act at a lounge in Mumbai.
Sonal Giani and Koninika Roy
Activists, couple, bisexual, hanging out on a day off in Mumbai.
Gautam Yadav
Playwright, activist, handles crisis management cases on HIV in Delhi. He says coming out as gay to his parents was tough, but telling them he was HIV positive was way tougher.
Mandeep Raikhy
Dance practitioner, choreographer, gay man, Delhi. Seen here filling in for a performer in Queen Size. Raikhy wrote the performance piece as a response to Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalises homosexuality.
Urmi Jadhav
Transgender hijra activist, Mumbai. Co-founder of Dancing Queens, grew up picturing herself as the heroine dancing in films.
Praful Baweja
Media professional, voracious reader, gay man, photography enthusiast, Delhi. Can’t resist cuddling Zizou, the house golden retriever, at Gostana café in Bandra.
The queen holds court. After hours of preparation Sushant Divgikar is transformed into his drag alter ego, and waits to go on stage.
Dimple Mithilesh Chaudhary
Poet, journalist, social worker, queer woman, Delhi. She says she has a recent obsession: biking. Can you tell?
Sanket Sveronic
Salon manager, make-up artist, fashionista, gay man, core member at Mr Gay World India, Mumbai. Enjoys a cold coffee after work.
Drag queen, known for gorgeous saris, avatar of social worker Alex Mathew from Bangalore. Seen with an admirer/friend after her performance at a lounge in Mumbai.
Reshma Pritam Singh creates images to deepen her understanding of the world around her and is dedicated to capturing the beauty of people, places and things. She is also the founder of Mogstar Media, a boutique production facility based in Delhi NCR.
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