Top LGBTQ Influencers in India 2021
We have reached the first half of the year 2021 and commenced with the month-long celebration of the LGBTQ community. Each day we see people from and outside of the LGBTQ community struggling and raising voices in different sectors of society. The day-to-day oppression of the queer community is no secret to anyone. The way they are stereotyped and stigmatized is no secret either.
Although a large portion of the population, not just in India but all over the world is still unaware of the struggles of the community. There have been voices of brave activists and speakers around for a very long time now. And June is all about celebrating those achievements, diversity and the identities of the LGBTQ community. Thanks to social media, not only are many people aware of the community, but the word now travels faster.
You do not really have to be a part of the LGBTQ community to know about their struggles. All you have to do is expand your knowledge, learn, and learn it from the right people. Speaking of which, the easiest way to show your support for the community is to begin this year’s Pride month by learning a bit about its history and the top LGBTQ influencers in India who continue to spread the word.
About the LGBTQ community
Like any other subject, the LGBTQ movement too has a pool of knowledge that cannot be attained in a day. But you are here so that’s a start. The term LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer. The history of this terminology and initialism has seen many ups and downs. There have been many reformations that were influenced by older generations of the community as well as the new. This movement began to address the oppression towards the Gay community but as of today it also covers other sexual and gender minorities. Hence, the term queer was added as it the umbrella term for other gender and sexual minorities who are not heterosexual or cis-gendered.
What is Pride Month?
Pride Month is about celebrating the solidarity and inclusivity of the LGBTQ community. But what we know today as a celebration was started as a riot/uprising movement. The Stonewall Inn Uprising that occurred on 28th June 1969 in Manhattan, New York marks the centre of the Pride Month that we know today. The Stonewall Uprising or the Stonewall Rebellion was in response to a police raid that happened at The Stonewall Inn.
Back in the day, gay gatherings were prohibited. But only certain venues like bars was a safe space for the gay community to be themselves. However, when police raided the venue, the people present there decided to retaliate and hence, began the protests across many cities and states in the US. What started as a protest against the LGBTQ community has now become a celebration across the world.
Pride Month is not restricted to the month of June. The significance of the Stonewall Uprising makes June the Pride Month but many countries also celebrate in the months of April, September, February, and August.
In India, LGBTQ representation has been increasing bit by bit. May it be casting them in movies, giving them reservations, using the right pronouns, annulment of article 377, we are taking a step forward each day. We, as a society, still have a long way to go.
Role of social media in the LGBTQ community
In the past couple of years, social media has been at the centre of LGBTQ. It is not only told to spread mass awareness but also with the rise of influencer marketing, many influencer niches also have LGBTQ representation.
The impact of influencer marketing on consumers is very strong and hence, when we see people from the LGBTQ community in different influencer niches, with big and small brands, it definitely shapes our perspective. We already have a huge diversity in the influencer community with respect to niches and now with queer representation, we have taken a step forward.
In the near future of influencer marketing, you can expect to see more queer influencer coming up who are not only raising awareness but also building a career for themselves.
This curated list can be your personal stash of education. These LGBTQ influencers in India are opening about their struggles, going places, raising voices, both online and offline. Here’s a chance to take a peek into their lives and know better about the community that has been oppressed for long enough.
Dutee Chand is a woman of accomplishments. Where do we even begin? She is an Indian professional sprinter and current national champion in the women’s 100 metres event. She is the first Indian to win a gold medal in a 100m race in a global competition. She is the third Indian woman to ever qualify for the Women’s 100 metres event at the Summer Olympic Games. Also, she is the first Indian athlete to come out as a queer after speaking about her same-sex relationship back in 2019. This one brave attempt to come out as queer surely gave people a different perspective and a chance to LGBTQ community in sports. Instagram influencer or not, you can always find many ways to voice your opinions and to be proud of your identity.
Rishi Raj is a 19-year-old queer activist who tries his best to educate his Instagram fam more and more about the LGBTQ community. He shares his own journey, his own struggles with coming out and then dealing with it. Like many others, he too goes through the stress of online trolls on a regular basis, in fact, with every single post. But that does not stop him from calling out these online oppressors. He also talks about the Dalit community through his posts and has played a huge role in creating awareness about their struggles in society through his platform.
It is always great to see people like Trinetra put out the most important aspect of their lives out in the open on social media for people to educate themselves. Trinetra is a proud trans woman who is also a doctor and an influencer. She is known for her many collaborations with brands like Netflix. Her representation in the OTT world has risen a shift in people’s perspective and made them aware of the LGBTQ community. She is a person who does not shy away from talking about her transition. Just like any other lifestyle influencer, Trinetra too has been open about sharing her life journey and her struggles. In fact, her YouTube is filled with many contents about the same. Through her videos, you can understand and gain knowledge about transgenders, their lives, struggles, transitions, and also you might have a chance at learning some science that you missed at school.
Durga Gawde is an artist, activist, Ted-Ex speaker and drag king. They identify as gender fluid. Most people are unaware of the concept of drag and what it represents. “It is about challenging gender norms, critiquing them, and making fun of them,” as Durga states in one of their interviews. They are all about doing things that make them feel good. As simple as it sounds, somehow it’s the hardest to understand in today’s time. It would be nothing less than a wholesome experience to know about Durga’s journey and join them on their social media pages for the same.
Roshini Kumar is a colorful soul with a badass personality who doesn’t fail to leave an opportunity to express her thoughts, feelings and raise awareness in society through her art. She is a fashion photographer, creative director, activist, and influencer who talks about many social causes and works with many fashion influencers. Her continuous efforts to normalize different body types, gender fluidity, and queerness remain at the forefront of her Instagram.
Shushant Digvikr is an Indian model, drag queen, speaker, and television personality. You must remember watching him on Bindaas or in Big Boss’s house for its 8th season. He has had a long career in the television industry before he became an internet queer icon. He was as crowned as Mr Gay India in 2014 and he also represented India at Mr Gay World in the same year. He has a personality that is hard to miss. He has been all about raising awareness about the LGBTQ community, even before the social media world existed.
Nitasha is the first Indian transgender beauty pageant winner. Her journey has not been easy but she has made it this far and has paved a way for many transgender individuals in the beauty industry. Like many other people from the community, she too fell prey to social discrimination and oppression on many levels. But it was her passion that kept her going. Along with many other individuals, it is also Nitasha Biswas’s courage that society and its laws are becoming more and more inclusive with time.
These top LGBTQ influencers in India are here to shape the future. They educate you, encourage you to be more inclusive and show you how to become a successful influencer and make the most out of your social media privilege. They have started doing their work long ago and with each day more and more people are joining. LGBTQ is more than a community. It’s a way of life, it’s a culture. And these 7 LGBTQ influencers are here to introduce you to this culture in their individual ways.