Celebrate Pride with books by authors of the rainbow community! From inspirational memoirs to irresistible romances, these Indian authors came out proud and made their place in our bookshelves and in our lives.
Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you,” and this couldn’t be any truer for the Indian queer community.
Here are the Indian queer authors who came out proud:
Gazal Dhaliwal is a screenwriter known for writing the screenplay and dialogues for 'Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga'. Dhaliwal has also worked on films like 'Lipstick Under My Burkha', 'Qarib Qarib Single' as the dialogue writer.
Dhaliwal spoke out against the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2018. She voiced her support for the scrapping of the bill as it does not grant transgender people the right to self-determine their gender identity. Dhaliwal has openly spoken about being a transgender woman, most famously in an episode of the talk show 'Satyamev Jayate'.
In an interview with a news website, Dhaliwal said, “In the professional world, I want to be known for my work rather than my status as a trans woman. My gender cannot be my only identity when I am writing a story because a story has no gender. Having said that I have a substantial reason to be okay with the tag 'trans woman' scriptwriter because I know the importance of the visibility of a transgender. Our community does not have enough representation which is very important.”
Suniti Namjoshi is a lesbian fabulist and a poet whose work is known for challenging prejudices such as sexism, homophobia and racism. Namjoshi has written many collections of poetry, fables, novels and books for children. Her work has been translated into several languages, including Chinese, Italian, Spanish etc.
'Feminist Fables' (1981) is one of her most famous work. Throughout she has been active in the feminist movement and gay liberation movements.
Vikram Seth is an Indian poet and novelist. Seth has won many awards like Sahitya Akademi Award, Padma Shri, WH Smith Literary Award, and many more. In his poem 'Dubious', Seth describes his thoughts on his sexuality.
Seth’s notable works include the poems 'All You Who Sleep Tonight' and 'Mappings'. Seth's novel 'A Suitable Boy’, was adapted into a web-series that aired on BBC One and is also streaming on Netflix.
R. Raj Rao
Ramachandrapurapu Raj Rao is an Indian poet, writer and a professor of literature. Rao's first novel 'The Boyfriend' is one of the first gay novels in India where he writes about chaotic life of gays in Mumbai.
Poems written by Rao, in a collection, were the basis Riyad Vinci Wadia’s film 'Bomgay' (1996) which is also known to be India’s first gay film. Rao founded the Queer Studies Circle at Pune University. He was one of the first to offer a course on LGBTQ+ literature at the university level in India.
Vijayarajamallika is Kerala’s first trans woman poet. She is known for her work in Malayalam literature, is a teacher, writer, activist and an inspirational speaker. Her autobiography 'Mallikavasantham' is the first transgender autobiography in Malayalam literature.
Certain poems from her collection have been included in the curriculum of different universities. Her second poetry collection 'Aan Nadhi' (Male River) describes the life and struggles of members of the LGBTQ+ community. It has a special reference to the transgender and intersex communities.
Vijayarajamallika has founded India’s first transgender alternative learning centre called 'Sahaj International'.
Devdutt Pattanaik is Indian illustrator, mythologist, author. Pattanaik has been frank about the LGBTQ revolution in India. Pattnaik realised that he was gay in Class 10 and came out to his parents when he was 30. After the 2018 decriminalisation of homosexuality in India, Pattanaik came out as gay in a televised interview. He is known for his writing on legends, folklore, and fables. His work focuses on myth, mythology, religion, and management. Some of his popular works are 'Myth=Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology', 'Sita: An Illustrated Retelling of the Ramayana', and 'My Gita'.
Consuming content written by the queer authors is an easy way to learn more about the queer community. It also allows for young audiences to see themselves represented and gives them the courage to come out, loud and proud.