Arunachal Literature Festival embraces inclusivity and empowerment

ITANAGAR, 19 Nov: The Arunachal Literature Festival placed a spotlight on inclusivity and empowerment during its Queer and Allies session held here on 17 November.

The session, part of the festival’s second day, provided a secure space for the marginalized community to share their narratives and experiences through poetry and performances. Drawing parallels to last year’s successful gathering in Namsai, the event attracted a packed and engaged audience, leaving many attendees moved to tears by the profound sessions presented.

Manabi Bandyo-padhyay, the pioneering first openly transgender Indian college principal, skillfully moderated the session. The panel featured esteemed LGBTQIA+ writers including Sanjana Simon, A. Revathi, Partha S. Majumdar, alongside local queer figures and their allies such as Wanggo Socia, Moge Basar, Raju Ghising, Babuilu Towang, among others.

Sahitya Akademi awardee Y.D. Thongchi honoured all queer participants from other states and shared insights into his work on queer topics.

Queer activist Sawang Wangchha expressed gratitude to the department of IPR and APLS for providing a platform for his community. He specifically acknowledged the support of Y.D. Thongchi, Jamuna Bini, and the IPR officers, empowering the marginalized and neglected community to share their stories and be visible. Wangchha emphasized the need to challenge stereotypes, highlighting the presence of LGBTQIA+ individuals within Arunachal Pradesh, countering the belief that everyone in the state is heterosexual.

Thongchi pledged continued support for the community through art and literature. The event attracted diverse audiences, including Anuja Chandramouli, an author recognized for her contributions to fantasy and historical fiction, alongside writers from various states.