Queer Community of J&K Won't Enjoy Any Greater Freedom, Says LGBTQ+ Collective

The Queer Muslim Project has held up a mirror to the conditions of queer peoples' acceptance of Kashmir's unique predicament.

New Delhi: In a gesture of solidarity and noting that no identities operate in a vacuum, The Queer Muslim Project has released a statement against the reading down of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, and the “false national pride” at play in people’s reactions to the Centre’s decision.

Taking off from American poet Audre Lorde’s lines on there being “no such thing as a single-issue struggle,” the collective’s statement thoroughly takes down the revocation and also the lines of celebratory praise issued by many LGBTQ+ individuals and groups in reaction to it.

“Such a position appropriates the voices of queer and transgender people from Kashmir while creating a smokescreen of rainbow solidarity,” it says.

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The Project holds up a mirror to the conditions of queer peoples’ acceptance of Kashmir’s unique predicament and essays the basic violations of several rights of the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Effectively, the stand of celebration by a section of the queer community on the pretext that the LGBTQ+ community from Kashmir will enjoy greater freedom for their sexual and gender expression now, pinkwashes the ever going struggle of Kashmiri people against grave injustice, violence and oppression – a struggle that has impacted generations after generations of Kashmir.”

The statement warns against the appropriation of voices from the Valley, while at once lending support to LGBTQ people struggling to assert themselves there.

It expresses hope in the constitution and in the eventual future when all opinions will be heard on an equal platform.

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“Resistance and struggle against all forms of oppression and marginalisation is important. Our contention is to not mistake one right bigger than the other,” the statement reads, recognising that the situation unfolding in the Valley sets the stage for a far more deep seating violation of rights.

Quoting the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz in all his poignance, the statement also notes that “this is not the morning we are waiting for.”

Several thinkers, politicians and public personas have come forward with letters and statements of condemnation as the Centre’s Kashmir decision completes a week. In this time, the virtual communications blackout over Kashmir has not been lifted.