In India, one of the minority of countries where homosexuality is illegal, the LGBTQ community continues to face discrimination and hardship on a daily basis. A decade ago, in an even more conservative environment, with fewer places to voice their frustration, many queer people would go online in search of someone who shared their experiences. For them, perhaps the greatest source of support was simply being understood.
Founded in 2008, Gaysi Family is India’s largest online queer forum. It’s a digital space where the gay desi community can express themselves however they like. (“Desi” is a term for the inhabitants and diaspora of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and the website’s name is a play on “gay desi.”) The site boasts a variety of contributions from the queer community, including personal stories, works of fiction, poems, songs, illustrations, and comics.
“The purpose of Gaysi is to let you know you’re not the only one,” says MJ, one of the founders, who is openly lesbian. “The coming out process is never easy because who you come out to is not just one person. Sometimes it’s your whole family or the entire society. And the fact that you know you have company can be very helpful.”
In 2013, they launched a new endeavor: Gaysi Zine, a print publication that portrays LGBTQ life through a meticulously curated round-up of stories and visuals, with a larger dose of art.
Gaysi Family 于 2008 年创立，作为印度最大的线上同志论坛，欢迎所有来自“德西”（desi，即生活在南亚次大陆上的印度裔和拥有相同文化意识）且拥有同志身份认知的人，来到这自由地说出任何想说的话，因此酷儿人群各种形式的投稿作品，从亲身经历、小说、诗歌、插画、漫画都广见于网站上。
“Gaysi 的目的就是要让你知道你不是唯一。出柜无论对谁来说都很困难，因为你出柜的对象往往不是一个人，而是家庭、甚至整个社会。知道有人与你站在一起，会有很大的帮助。”创办人之一 MJ 说，她同时也是一名公开出柜的同性恋者。
到了 2013 年，他们有了新的尝试——发行《Gaysi Zine》，一本文字与图像创作的合集，增添更多艺术成分去描绘 LGBTQ 的生活。
With a blend of topical and artistic content, Gaysi Zine is currently gearing up to publish issue six. The magazine is an extension of Gaysi Family’s ongoing mission to provide an open and inclusive space for the queer community. As before, 80% of every issue’s art and stories come from the region, and by using a style with bold, commanding visuals, Gaysi Zine lets readers leap over the language barrier and experience queer life in an accessible way.
作为一本兼具议题和艺术性的杂志，《Gaysi Zine》即将发行第六期，它沿袭着 Gaysi Family 的主旨，致力于提供酷儿人群一个公开、包容的空间。并且和往常一样，它有 80% 的内容都由住在印度地区的 LGBTQ 人群提供。其沟通方式具有强烈的视觉风格，让人能跳脱语言分界，直接体会酷儿的感受和情绪。
“Stories on the website are shared in black and white of words. But color is the essence of queers,” says Priya Gangwani, one of the magazine’s editors. “Images can capture our life much more precisely.”
Gangwani recalls how hard it used to be to find LGBTQ information in India. Before she discovered Gaysi, she thought she was the only one to have such “abnormal” thoughts about people of the same sex. As she’s gone from reader to regular contributor to editor, she’s witnessed to the country’s shift away from the repressive times of the past to the more progressive attitude of today, when queer visibility is gradually growing in India’s mainstream media. With Gaysi at the lead, these shifts are changing the face of India’s queer community.
“网站上的故事毕竟是由黑与白的文字被分享的，但酷儿的世界是缤纷、充满多样的色彩，图像更可以捕捉我们的生命精随。”作为《Gaysi Zine》的编辑之一，Priya Gangwani 和我们分享道。
回想起自己在发现 Gaysi 之前，因为社会上资讯极度的不流通，Priya 还以为自己是全印度唯一对同性抱有异常遐想的人。从发现 Gaysi 到成为固定撰稿人，再到如今成为其编辑，Priya 仿佛见证了从那样压抑的年代走到现在，同志议题在印度主流媒体的能见度逐渐提升的过程。而由 Gaysi 所引导的力量，也正渐渐改变着印度酷儿族群的样貌。
Gaysi Zine – Issue #5 is now available on the Neocha Shop in limited supply.
- Year of Publication: 2017
- Number of Pages: 156 (including front and back cover)
- Size: 21.5 x 28 cm
- Price: $30 USD