Out of Line and Offline: Queer Mobilizations in ’90s Eastern India is a book by Pawan Dhall. The book dwells on the many ways in which queer communities were mobilized in the first decade of the movement in India, and how such mobilization affected the lives of queer people in the long run. The book hit the shelves in June 2020.
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In 1996, why were two young Kolkata women in love compelled to run away from home to Delhi? What role did queer support groups play in their escape and survival in the capital? In 1998, a college student from Shillong wrote to a Calcutta-based queer support group seeking help for a ‘sex change’ because they wanted to be ‘a boy’. was the support group able to help? In 2000, a banker in his mid-30s began a queer support group in a Western Odisha town, far away from any metropolis. Why did it not last beyond a couple of years? In 2007, a transgender woman from Kolkata decided to join the hijra community. What was her journey of self-discovery like, leading up to this momentous decision? The 1990s and early 2000s were heady days for Indian queer people and their networks as they emerged from the shadows. They grouped together to deal with covert and overt forms of stigma, discrimination, and violence in different spheres of life.
Tracing the life stories of around a dozen individuals and their allies from Eastern India, out of line and offline dwells on the many ways in which queer communities were mobilized in the first decade of the movement in India, and how such mobilization affected the lives of queer people in the long run. Pawan dhall draws on in-depth interviews, which generate compelling stories of individual lives and experiences amid a society that was slowly being pressure to change. Dhall also delves into the archives of some of the earliest queer support forums in Eastern India to reveal the ways in which the movement developed and grew. A thoroughly researched and poignantly human document, this volume will find an important place in the canon of literature on queer movements across the world.
About the Author
Pawan Dhall has been engaged in activism and writing on queer rights in India since the early 1990s. A founding member of queer group Counsel Club, he has also worked with SAATHII, an NGO focused on healthcare and social justice access, and now runs Varta Trust, which undertakes publishing, research, and advocacy on gender and sexuality.