Kolkata: Of the several calendars being brought out in the New Year, one is on the LGBT community. The "City of Love" calendar has been photographed by lensman Archan Mukhopadhaya.
Mukhopadhaya says he wanted to raise awareness about the community among the masses and prove that the word "queer/strange" that has been associated with the community since the Supreme Court verdict in 2013 year is wrong.
The court had set aside a landmark Delhi High Court judgement decriminalising gay sex and revived the penal provision making gay sex an offence punishable with life imprisonment in a setback to people fighting a battle for recognition of their sexual preferences.
"The LGBT community are also humans and terming them as a strange/queer is wrong. A gay, bisexual, transgender or a lesbian has same kind of emotions and feelings just like any other human. They are not aliens," says Mukhopadhaya.
Through his lens, he has portrayed 12 pictures from January to December, questioning the gender stereotype that still exist in India.
Set in real-time Kolkata, the calendar features a Utopian Kolkata where no one is gender queer, where queer term does not exist, he says. It also raises the fact that queerness exist beyond gender and sexuality.
Kaushik Gupta, who features in the calendar in August and is shown getting married to his male partner, feels that this calendar will help people understand the emotions and sentiments of the people associated with LGBT community.
"According to the Constitution, every citizen has equal rights but why is the LGBT community denied the rights to love. I hope this calendar helps people who think we are either strange or abnormal understand us," Gupta, an advocate,
Debbie Nath, who is featured (in May) as a transgender getting shaved, feels that every individual in India has the right to live his own life and those who are trying to oppose are behaving strangely.
"I personally believe that this calendar will help in breaking the taboos associated with our community and creating awareness in favour of gender sensitisation," Debbie says.
In 2013 too, Mukhopadhya had come up with a calendar on LGBT for the first time. "Silent Saga" depicted the late 18th and early 19th century Kolkata. "We support the idea of Archan through which he has tried to raise awareness about this 'queer'. So we have decided to keep his calendars in our information stalls," says Minakshi Sanyal, an official for Sappho For Equality, an activist forum for LGBT rights.