In Conversation With The Creators Of India's First Queer Magazine

Posted on 30 January, 2016 by Team Wishberry

53df59d47d964Image 2-1024x440 It began as a simple idea of sharing stories about what it meant to be gay and desi, which slowly evolved into a space for expression and dialogue. The Gaysi Zine, a queer themed magazine by the founders of Gaysi Family is a platform that aims to share opinions, activism, dreams, theories, confessions and desires of the LGBTQ community. The project was successfully crowdfunded in September 2014! We got in touch with the team, to learn what all has happened since the crowdfunding scene. View their campaign page HERE!  

So, tell us about everything that has been happening since the crowdfunding success?

Anuja: The magazine was very well received, to put it modestly. We sold over 500 copies in a matter of 2 months which exceeded our own expectations. Best the selling part, The Gaysi Zine also managed to garner some mainstream media publicity. In fact even now we have people enquiring about the last issue. Most recently we have been covered by Kyoorius and Syndicated Zine Reviews. We are now midst of preparing for our 4th edition which will be in the graphic story form. You can find more details on our blog here.  

We know that the criminalization of section 377 pushed the entire team to work on this project. Did the team take any special precautions to avoid controversies? Tell us about it.

Anuja: 377 only motivated us to work harder and make our stories more heard. It has never deterred us from doing anything. As for precautions, we don't really need to take any considering there is nothing wrong with the content we are putting out.  53df59d9ce998Image 3-1024x440

Give us insights into what efforts have you been taking towards building, protecting and fostering a creative environment for the community? 

Anuja: In the last year we have asked more people to be a part of Gaysi Family. We are trying to get people from different creative backgrounds to join our team or collaborate with us on various projects. This has allowed for us to experiment with various formats and learn about new styles. We have always made it a point to ask for feedback and incorporate that feedback into our work. It is what has been the most beneficial to our growth.   

What was the most challenging aspect of the publishing process?

Anuja: The most difficult part of the entire publishing process is the marketing. Self promotion is very hard. Additionally, designing the zine is a lot of fun but one had to avoid over loading with either text or visuals, we had to find the right balance between the two. Lastly, the crux of the zine is only known once we have all the final pieces. The design starts then. Fortunately for us we had a phenomenal creative director on board, Karishma who goes by Fishead. 11698938_1188408531185201_470218967034449121_o

Normalizing queer culture is a conversation all of us should be having right now. What is your next step in making this happen?

Anuja: In our opinion, the next step to normalizing queer culture is to make queer more abstract, to take it beyond the binaries of gender, sex and sexuality. We need to blur the lines and/or de-specify what it means to be queer, allowing queer to be a lot more fluid and turn it into a generic subversive politics. 

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