A digital magazine on sexuality in the Global South: We are working towards cultivating safe, inclusive, and self-affirming spaces in which all individuals can express themselves without fear, judgement or shame

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A photograph of two yellow flowers blooming amid grass. Dark green leaves are emerging from behind the flowers' petals.

Editorial: Representation and Sexuality

We are, all of us, trying to hold steady, and to hold space for each other and for ourselves. And so, instead of trying to put together a collection of ‘all new’ articles, this time we are republishing some ‘ever fresh’ ones on the theme of Sexuality and Representation.
On a peach coloured background, a woman of colour jumping. She is wearing purple ballet shoes and a purple one-piece swimsuit with white-grey patterns scattered on it. Her eyes are wide open and her hands are stretched open on both sides. Her hair is brown and open. She is throwing multi-coloured confetti. Beneath her is a blue circle. In a semicircle to her right is the typography, in purple: Throw kindness around like confetti!

Interview: Kripa Joshi

There have been several recent examples of actors, movies and events being called out because of their lack of representation, like for the Oscars. With social media it is easier to create and distribute diverse art and also to voice the need for diversity. So it needs engagements and awareness in society. Change will happen once enough people demand that change.
A photograph of a white bedsheet with blots of maroon-burgundy lipstick stains smudged across it.

Following Aladdin’s Genie

The lip colour then enters into a rather queer state of existence as it refuses to stand by the label it is expected to conform to. It moves and escapes categorisation. In its queerness, it renders itself as a paradox. At the heart of paradoxes is the understanding that something is what it is also not. Similarly, the colour of this lipstick is nude, but it is also not. It is possible that it is because of this slippery nature of the paradox that my sexuality as my identity too remains slippery, in motion and fluid.
Wall-art of a face till the bridge of the nose. The face is coloured in peach, grey, and shades of blue. The eyes, green, are lined in black and have spots of yellow, brown, and blue colour around them. Under the left eye, there are yellow dots. The hair is streaked with purple and blue.

Probing the Screen: Pleasure in the Virtual World

The virtual world allows me to challenge the hold of patriarchy on my ‘effeminate’ body; in a sense, it allows me to evade the policing of desire that my body shares with another, its flows and slippages, the messy and the unkempt. While virtual sex offers a window to revisit the sensual, it is also not immune to limitations and insecurities.
A photograph of an individual with a book. Their face is not visible. They are flipping through a seemingly old book, and are turning the page using two fingers. They are wearing a cream top with a brown scarf and a ring on their finger.

Finding Feminism

As I began to read about feminist methodology in academic research, it felt like I finally found words to articulate my experience. Feminist methodology addresses problems in traditional forms of scientific and social research, such as giving high regard to objectivity and rationality, and the power equation in the researcher-subject relationship.
A screenshot of an advertisement. It depicts a woman in a red saree with a dark blue blouse. She is wearing necklaces. She is squatting and seemingly washing clothes. Beside her, to the left, is a steel bucket.

Review: What Does Clothing Have to do with Sexuality in the Media?

Attire and sexuality in the common imagination and approach as represented (and also as received) by the mainstream media tell us a lot about prevailing attitudes to both. Advertisements bombard us with all kinds of representations, negative and positive, of human sexuality, sexual expression and desire. In the creation and marketing of attire and fashion, there is a great awareness of sexual buy-in or rejection by the market – that’s us.
An abstractly made illustration of a landscape with mountains depicted in yellow, and below, a blend of green-blue to depict oceans. The texture of the colours evokes waves as well as ice. On the left is a paper boat, yellow-white with blue-green hues, carrying a red rose-like flower in the middle.

Swipe me left, I’m Dalit

Dalit women are primarily viewed as victims and survivors of various kinds of violence. Reification of the Dalit identity has led to the boxing of our existence whose dimensions are solely defined by the savarna (dominant caste) gaze. Our self-assertions of identity are commodified to create a warped limiting of our lives, creating an image that is voiceless in the minds of our potential suitors. We are not seen as being capable of desire, love or happiness; we don’t exist as individuals outside of violence.
An image of a part of the Earth as seen from outer space. Only a semicircular part of the Earth has been captured, with a black background. On the surface of the Earth that is visible are golden branch-link lines and patches of golden light to indicate connectivity.

Is Digital Colonisation Redefining the Understanding of Agency, Bodily Autonomy, and Being Human?

Apart from systematic exclusions faced by individuals, evidently the mandatory use of a biometric-based digital ID has also reshaped the understanding of an individual’s agency and right to bodily autonomy. Gender and sexuality seem to no longer be matters of an individual’s right to privacy. With digitisation, disclosure of one’s gender and sexuality has become a hindrance to accessing one’s rights.
A photograph of a smartphone on a wooden surface. The sides of the phone are black, and the display has a white background with a kissing-face emoticon in the centre and two red heart emoticons on either side.

Are they people or just a number?

You see, numbers are tricky, data is tricky. More importantly, data is dehumanising. Add sexuality and intimacy to this and the waters get even murkier. Maybe it’s good to leave a few things unaffected by too much data. Maybe we do not want to talk about data and sexuality. Maybe we instead want to talk about why data around gender and sexuality must not be recorded, and instead, maybe focus on why we should honour every kind of sexual preference which is within the purview of the safe and consensual.
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