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OPEN LETTER IN SUPPORT OF MARRIAGE EQUALITY-DRAG ARTISTS OF INDIA

Updated: May 4, 2023


We, the undersigned, are performers of the art form of drag across India and belong to the gamut of gender and sexual identities which constitute the LGBTQIA+ spectrum. Since the commencement of the hearings on the issue of marriage equality for LGBTQIA+ persons, we have been closely observing the proceedings at the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. While the representations on behalf of the petitioners from the queer community have instilled in us cautious hope and optimism, the misinformation from the other side of the bench representing the State worries us deeply. At a time when the highest court of India is deciding an issue that can have a significant impact on our lives, we feel it is important to assert our lived experiences as drag performers and members of the queer community and reiterate the queer history of India and the struggles of our queer ancestors.

While the State argues to restrict our laws to the binary, as drag artists we represent the possibilities for the society, of living multidimensional lives, and accommodating multiple identities beyond the binary. Through the art of drag, we love to provoke and play with the understanding of gender and our existing relationship with categories. Within the community, we are trans and cis, non-binary and genderqueer and individuals who are part of an ever-expanding spectrum of gender. Our art is often a reflection of our lived reality and the many negotiations we have to do on an everyday basis. Our search is that of a world that affirms the many kinds of genders as well as the multitude of partnerships that are possible between us; partnerships and relationships that hopefully resemble the same transcendental love that has been so beautifully captured in our shared heritage of queer art, poetry, history and mythology.

In denying our right to marry, the State professes its intention to protect our culture. However, it is important to remember that culture is no monolith. Rather, it has been flowing through legends, mythologies and sufi poetry that talk about love and union of all kinds. As artists who play with gender, we derive inspiration from all these texts whether it be of the union between Shiva and Mohini, an avatar of Vishnu or the story of Krishna and Aravan (much celebrated through the annual Koothandavar festival in Tamil Nadu) or the love enshrined at Sufi sites of Sarmad and Abhay Chand, and Shah Hussain and Madho Lal. These are stories of love, of a union that society did not just accept but also continues to celebrate.

It is this fluid culture that has given birth to drag theatre and practice across the country. It has shaped trans-communities of hijras, kothis, jogammas and many others. All of us continue to be a large part of this country’s cultural fabric. It does not need stating that almost all such communities form their own chosen families for support and sustenance. While the state has recognized the individuals within the trans-community through the Transgender Persons Act 2019, it does not recognize the notion of chosen families and the rights that one could access as a collective. This idea of chosen families, when empowered through law, can be a liberating one not just for queer and trans people but even for cis-gendered, heterosexual folks who may want to create other kinds of partnerships beyond the one currently mandated by various family laws.

We are living in an age when ideas of gender and sexuality have been redefined. Out of this also arise new ideas of equality and parity. While marriage as an institution has existed in one form or another for ages, it has also evolved in its meaning and implication with time. However, most of our laws in the context of gender and family continue to carry the burden of our colonized times as well as our caste-based understanding of kinship and partnerships. In the current case on marriage equality, ownership of bodies and the rigid definitions of these bodies has, unfortunately, been a key argument from the state’s representatives.

We rest our faith in the Constitution of India and the due process of law with the belief that it will accord us an equal right to live with dignity, without truncating our diversity. If history is something to learn from, may we learn from the bravest and kindest retelling of it, to shape our trajectory ahead. That is our hope and submission.


From,

A collective of Drag Artists.

(Full List on the Next Page in alphabetical order)

  1. Abhishek Singhania, Chandigarh

  2. Akash Bhattacharjee, Kolkata

  3. Amarnath Chandraman, Karur

  4. Ankur Desai, Bangalore

  5. Anrutha Reddy, Hyderabad

  6. Aryan patra aka khemaya, Hyderabad

  7. Ashish Chopra, Bangalore

  8. Bakordor Lyngdoh, Meghalaya

  9. Balamurugan Vasudevan, Virudhunagar

  10. Betta Naan Stop, Delhi NCR

  11. Beyonce, Bangalore

  12. Da N.L, Shillong

  13. DJ SWAR, New Delhi

  14. Dr. Salil Kumar Pathak, Jabalpur

  15. Durga Gawde, Mumbai

  16. Emperor Naaz, Mumbai

  17. Eshna Biswas Serampore, Hooghly

  18. Gautam Bandodkar (Drag name - Mysticurl Flame), Margao

  19. Goddess gagged, Mumbai

  20. Glorious Luna aka Suruj Pankaj Rajkhowa, Mumbai

  21. Hameesha, Visakhapatnam

  22. HH Dolly Divine/ Kumar Iyer, Mumbai

  23. Hiten Noonwal, New Delhi

  24. Im agree, Vadodara

  25. Isabelle Wood, Pune

  26. ITT, Mumbai

  27. Janmesh, Chennai

  28. Kamhall, Pune

  29. Kash Arora, Mumbai

  30. Katherina Fierce / Karan Thapa, Siliguri

  31. Khatti Pari, Hyderabad

  32. Khoriyaa, Raipur

  33. King Samuel, Mumbai

  34. Komolika, Kolkata

  35. Krish, Jaipur

  36. Krystal Koko, Noida

  37. Larisa Wahlang, Shillong

  38. Lovina poison, Muktsar

  39. Lush Monsoon, Delhi

  40. Maya the Drag Queen/Alex Mathew, Bangalore

  41. Meenakshi, Noida

  42. Megha Sikder, Kolkata

  43. Melancholia, Mumbai

  44. Miss Bhenji, Bangalore.

  45. Miss Komolika, Mumbai

  46. Mix_freakshowk, Mumbai

  47. Mx.Stallion aka Mx.Siaan, Mumbai

  48. Nautanki Ragini, Hyderabad

  49. Neeti Ravindra.S, Hyderabad

  50. Nefar!ous, Mumbai

  51. Nethu nightu neelambari, Chennai

  52. Nitish Anand (Shabnam Bewafa), New Delhi

  53. Nitin Sharma, Jammu

  54. Patruni Chidananda Sastry, Hyderabad

  55. Paramita Das, Kolkata

  56. Rahul, Delhi

  57. Rasam Raaja, Bengaluru

  58. Reetam Siliguri, Darjeeling

  59. Rinku, Konnagar

  60. Roshni Das, Kolkata

  61. S Jain, Faridabad

  62. Sajal Sharma, Palghar

  63. Sanjili Patkar, Thane

  64. Sannihith, Hyderabad

  65. Sasikumar, Tiruppur

  66. Saumika Dhar, Serampore

  67. Saurabh, Delhi

  68. Savithri, Hyderabad

  69. Shashank, Faridabad

  70. Shizuka, Rohtak

  71. Somesh Kumar, Bhubaneswar

  72. Somistha, Kolkata

  73. Suvankar, Bishnu Kolkata

  74. Miss Bhenji, Bangalore.

  75. Miss Komolika, Mumbai

  76. Mix_freakshowk, Mumbai

  77. Mx.Stallion aka Mx.Siaan, Mumbai

  78. Nautanki Ragini, Hyderabad

  79. Neeti Ravindra.S, Hyderabad

  80. Nefar!ous, Mumbai

  81. Nethu nightu neelambari, Chennai

  82. Nitish Anand (Shabnam Bewafa), New Delhi

  83. Nitin Sharma, Jammu

  84. Patruni Chidananda Sastry, Hyderabad

  85. Paramita Das, Kolkata

  86. Rahul, Delhi

  87. Rasam Raaja, Bengaluru

  88. Reetam Siliguri, Darjeeling

  89. Rinku, Konnagar

  90. Roshni Das, Kolkata

  91. S Jain, Faridabad

  92. Sajal Sharma, Palghar

  93. Sanjili Patkar, Thane

  94. Sannihith, Hyderabad

  95. Sasikumar, Tiruppur

  96. Saumika Dhar, Serampore

  97. Saurabh, Delhi

  98. Savithri, Hyderabad

  99. Shashank, Faridabad

  100. Shizuka, Rohtak

  101. Somesh Kumar, Bhubaneswar

  102. Somistha, Kolkata

  103. Suvankar, Bishnu Kolkata

  104. Suvo, Kolkata

  105. Sushant Divgikr aka Rani KoHenur, Mumbai

  106. Swaja Saransh, Delhi

  107. Trisha Majumdar, Serampore

  108. Tanvi, Mumbai

  109. Uncle Jhonson, Colombo

  110. VictWhoria JumboButt, Puri

  111. Vikas Kumar, Delhi

  112. Vineeth Santhosh, Idukki

  113. Vivan, Gurgaon

  114. Whacker cracker (Prashant Chauhan), Delhi

  115. Yash Dalmia, Hyderabad

  116. Zeeshan Ali/Zeesh, Bangalore

  117. बे-गम Husn Chashni, Aligarh

and more







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