Brushtrokes: Queering Bombay’s Public Spaces

Couples sitting and kissing by a beach-side of an industrailised smoggy area, with palm trees and its' leaves waving in a strong wind.

This article/photo essay was originally published in Gaysi Family.

In a society that heavily restricts expressions of sexuality, openly asserting your queerness is a difficult and important act. In an effort to push back against the erasure of queer people from Indian public spaces, photographer Sana Javeri Kadri has created a photo essay of queer people expressing love and desire in the streets, beaches and other public spaces of Bombay.

The photos convey both the difficulty and joy of being queer in India; they portray a city that is learning how to make space for its queer citizens. The essay also inspires questions about the subjects, the queer residents of Bombay – was it difficult to be so open, especially in the presence of what Sana calls ‘the cis straight onlooker’? Did the photos feel voyeuristic? Is sustained queer visibility possible?

Take a look at Kadri’s beautifully rendered photo essay and consider the barriers that sexual minorities face when occupying public spaces.

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