A digital magazine on sexuality, based 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

Spaces and sexuality

Poster of the movie Nagarkirtan. A woman with short hair is leaning her chin on the shoulders of a man who is playing a flute. The name of the movie is written in Bengali, followed by its translation in English that reads “The Eunuch and The Flute Player”. Below it is the text that reads, “A Film by Kaushik Ganguly”, following which is a list of awards won by the movie at the 2018 National Awards.

Locating the ‘Nagar’ in ‘Nagarkirtan’: Identifying the feeling of socio-sexual rootlessness in the Transgender community

The plot of the movie narrates the tale of the love that grows between two people who are struggling to survive in a world of rootlessness and are continuing to make a cosy home for themselves. The love between Madhu, who works as a food delivery boy, and Puti, who survives by singing at traffic signals, blossoms while they cross paths everyday at the traffic signal and the look that they exchange appears to us as if each of them is trying to find a home in the other.
Photo of Sameera Khan. She has long black hair and is standing in a garden. She is wearing a black kurta, a deep emerald dupatta and a black necklace.

Interview – Sameera Khan

But what has been amazing to witness is how quickly young women in particular, took to the ideas of Why Loiter? and pushed them even further, creating new movements to expand women’s rights to the public, including the right to be out late at night, to stretch the curfew at women’s hostels, to demand extended access to women’s toilets, to public transport etc.
Photo of a smartphone screen displaying the logos of Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Clubhouse.

A ‘Room’ of One’s Own – Sexuality, Self-expression, and Safe Spaces on Clubhouse

In theory, the concept of the app is a great one – it provides women, queer people, and people belonging to oppressed castes the tea-stall, cigarette-shop type of public spaces for conversation that are available to upper-caste cis het men. The relative anonymity acts like a safe cover, and the app affords a certain autonomy and agency to marginalised people to regulate the kind of conversation that goes on in rooms moderated by them.
A photo of heterosexual couple sitting cross-legged on a rampart beside the sea. The man is wearing a blue shirt and there are shopping bags beside him. Beside him, only the mid-length hair of the woman can be seen. In the horizon is the city skyline of Mumbai with skyscrapers and other buildings at golden hour.

Public Sex and the Police in Urban Spaces

While sex workers face repeated harassment by the police, many young couples face threats in a one-off incident if the police finds them with their partner/lover. They may face police surveillance of expressions of intimacy and affection in public.
A photograph of the silhouette of a woman with long hair with the horizon of an ocean in the background and a sky at sunset with purple, pink and yellow gradient

The Construction of Women as Spaces

This article explores how women are constructed as a ‘space’ manufactured by men to seek comfort, but void of having any active agency or participation in that space itself. I seek to bring this out in this article by drawing a parallel between the nineteenth century ‘Bharat Mata’ (Mother India) and the depiction of the twenty-first century ‘heroine’ in Bollywood movies.
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