AP Queerstation meetup held

ITANAGAR, 16 Aug: The 4th community meetup of the AP Queerstation was organised in collaboration with the Reader’s Realm library here recently. More than 45 queer community members and allies participated to discuss topics revolving around the theme of ‘self love’.

In an attempt to encourage the queer community of Arunachal Pradesh to fight for their rights and equality, former Miss Arunachal Tengam Celine Koyu (she/her) attended the event “and shared her personal experience about overcoming negative judgments in the beauty industry which made her develop body image issues, and requested the participants to be kind, as words can either hurt or heal, depending on what we choose to speak,” Queerstation founder Sawang Wangchha (he/him) informed in a release.

“She also shared her thoughts about the LGBTQ+ movement that is currently taking a grip in the state and shared her ideas about how the movement can be further boosted by chalking out events and meetups in advance for the days to come,” the release said.

Koyu said that her father encouraged her to visit the meetup after she educated him about the LGBTQ+ people “and their difficulties in society, demonstrating the power of awareness.”

She advised the community members to be brave and true to themselves, and said that she would be a part of the LGBTQ+ events in the future.

This was followed by a speech on the topic ‘Skewed portrayal of lesbianism in media’ by one of the core members of AP Queerstation, Binny (she/her/they). She spoke about “how the portrayal via films, OTT, print media goes on to objectify and sexualise homosexual women.”

She said this had made it difficult to accept herself as a lesbian in the past, and requested the community members to “always revolt against this kind of misrepresentation and generalisation in society.”

Wangchha (he/him) shared his views on “how incorrect portrayal of LGBTQ+ people by the media has given birth to myths, stigma, taboos and other misinformation that have only harmed the image of the community members to a great extent.”

Another core member, TR Nending (he/him), spoke about the importance of “consent” in the community. He emphasised on the importance of respect and requested the gathering to not disclose the identity of those queers who are still in the closet and are in the process of figuring a way to come out.

He informed that “revealing one’s identity without their consent can put one in great danger.”

Ritu Raj (he/him), a PhD scholar from the NERIST, dwelt on the importance of using pronouns and maintaining an inclusive environment. He advised the participants to “practice using correct pronouns of an individual to respect their identity.”

Advocate Ebo Milli (he/him), human rights activist and advisory member of AP Queerstation, reminded the community members of the importance of solidarity within the community.

He advised the community members to “always keep up the fight for their rights and equality.”

Wangchha told the participants that “the biggest issue that the queer community of Arunachal is facing right now is the visibility of their existence,” and that the “enforcement of heteronormativity has affected the queer community deeply around the world.”

Discussing the topic ‘self love’, he shared his personal journey of how he started to accept his sexuality and gender expression, and advised the community people, especially the young ones, to “prioritise themselves first and always keep working on themselves to be a better version of themselves.”

He also spoke on the importance of fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in the state “and keeping the momentum of the queer movement that has just begun in Arunachal by constantly participating in all the events and meetups organised by AP Queerstation.”