Our social media platforms are only as rich and diverse as the people that populate them. Thankfully, India's own LGBTQIA influencers are ensuring that the community has enough and appropriate representation on social media and pop culture. During this pride month, we bring to you such influencers who are painting the social media with pride colours by who they are and what they do by.
Priyanka Paul, a self-taught poet, writer, storyteller, illustrator, and content creator, goes by @artwhoring. Apart from being queer, she is also a member of the Bahujan community. Her art and her content on the page criticizes the prejudices and discrimination against people on the basis of caste, gender and sexuality. The 22-year-old artist has obtained worldwide acclaim for her incredible artwork, reflecting a progressive, bold, and edgy perspective on women's empowerment. Furthermore, despite coordinated slander by far-right-wing trolls, her grit and resolve to stand by her beliefs and stance and advocate against caste-based atrocities and other forms of casteist normalisation make us respect her even more.
Sushant Divgikr/Rani KoHEnur
Sushant is a model, actor, VJ, drag performer, and LGBTQIA+ activist with over 1.1 million Instagram followers. He has appeared on several television shows, and in 2014, he won Mr Gay India and represented our country at Mr Gay World. In 2018, he also appeared on Sa Re Ga Ma Pa. He's very active on social media and enjoys entertaining his fans.
Durga Gawde is a drag performer, artist, and educator. Durga is one of the few people in India who have popularised gender-neutral clothing. Gawde's pronouns are they/them/their because he identifies as a non-binary gender-fluid person. They have emerged as a famous activist with a degree in fine arts (sculpture) from the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States, whose content raises awareness about gender fluidity through their own experiences.
Maitrayanee Mahanta is an Assamese social media influencer on the rise. She is a content writer, model, and artist pursuing her master's degree while preparing for UPSC exams. She and her partner, Neeta (@gypsymilady), are among the most famous couples on the North-East India online circuit. They have appeared in Ritviz's music video Raahi. They've also worked with Dolly Singh twice. Her photoshoots are a way for her to express her queerness and love for her partner.
Anwesh Sahoo, an artist, blogger, model, dancer, and motivational speaker, was crowned Mr Gay World India 2016 at 20. He also competed in the Mr Gay World 2016 pageant, finishing in the top 12. He is a manager (visual design specialist) at HDFC bank while finishing his degree at the National Institute of Fashion Technology in Delhi. On his art account @the.effeminare, he posts beautiful illustrations and photoshoots depicting gender nonconformity, gay pride, and other topics.