LONG ROAD TO FREEDOM
Grazia|September 2021
It’s been three years since Section 377 was repealed. To celebrate the milestone, we asked members of the LGBTQIA+ community for their insights on India’s path to queer liberation
JAISHREE KUMAR

When a panel of judges struck down Section 377 on September 8, 2018, non-binary filmmaker, Faraz Arif Ansari was busy baking a cake. “My birthday is on the 7th of September, and I have a ritual of baking a cake for myself every birthday. I was in the middle of baking when I found out about the verdict, and I was elated,” they say.

It’s been three years since this monumental verdict. But has India’s queer community learned to be inclusive? “Some people in the community are Islamophobic, femme phobic, and transphobic. My own identity lies at the intersection of these dimensions. I have often been asked to ‘tone down’ my Muslim identity but why? Personal experiences trickling into art will always be more impactful than some Wikipedia level of research,” says Ansari. For them, it’s important to connect to their audience through stories of hope, faith, and humanity. Ansari’s latest film, Sheer Qorma, starring Swara Bhasker, Divya Dutta, and Shabana Azmi explores the love between a non-binary person and a lesbian in a Muslim household. The heart-warming film has won multiple international accolades, including the Frameline Film Festival, which qualifies them for the BAFTA awards.

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