Love Matters hosts first edition of 'Conqueer'

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Love Matters hosts first edition of 'Conqueer'
Love Matters hosts first edition of 'Conqueer'

Noida : Love Matters, an NGO, focussing on love, sex and relationships organised the first edition of Conqueer 2019 which is a part of Love Matter’s Press4Change project. The event Conqueer 2019 was organised in partnership with the Keshav Suri Foundation and witnessed LGBTQ leaders from various parts of India coming together to brainstorm on the issues faced by the community in Post 377 India and draft problem statements. 

The leaders from the community presented the problem statements within a framework of various themes including Health, Law and Policy, Employment, Entertainment, Media and Education. 

The group discussing health highlighted the lack of data on the high rate of suicide of Queer individuals in the country and stated that this is the first step to reduce these rising suicide rates.  Another trans member in the same group reflected upon unfriendly behaviour at government healthcare institutions. The lack of focus on mental health and Queer friendly mental health services is leading to more suicides. 

The Group in Law and Policy talked about the shortcomings of TG Bill and the NALSA judgement. They stated that the concept of a screening committee is highly problematic and is against NALSA’s provision of Self Identification. It further focussed on the absence of comprehensive anti-discrimination law in India.  

The group working on Education talked about the inclusion of gender studies in the curriculum and for educational institutions to provide the right information and knowledge about the LGBTQ community. They demanded safe spaces, anti-discrimination cells and curbing acts of bullying in schools. 

The Employment group urged that the companies and workplaces need to stop looking at diversity and inclusion as a formality and make more efforts to make it happen.

In being accord with Love Matters India’s report on the representation of the community in media, the media group highlighted that there are not enough stories and to depict the community in the right way. This is only leading to more myths, misconceptions and hence, it is resulting in further disconnect with the society in large. 

Another panel featuring Ms Apsara Reddy, National General Secretary of the All India Mahila Congress, Ms Aparna Mittal, Lawyer, Founder Samana Centre for Gender, Policy and Law and Ms Kaveree Bamzai, Independent Journalist, Former Editor, India Today, also debated on the above topics. It was moderated by Mr Shivraj Parshad, Ex Journalist, Communications and Development Expert. 

Apsara Reddy spoke about her experience of facing discrimination in the workplace in the media industry as well as political parties. She criticized the transgender rights bill passed by the Lok Sabha recently for its lack of understanding trans peoples’ issues. She also criticised the current government for their lack of support for LGBTQ rights. 

Aparna Mittal spoke about the need for implementing diversity and inclusion policies, which often remain only on paper. Kaveree Bamzai stressed about the need for LGBTQ community and their allies to come together and sensitise their workplaces and families and take conversations on diversity and inclusion outside conference rooms.  

Vithika Yadav, Country Head of Love Matters said, “We are extremely happy that we could get such diverse group of people from various backgrounds to talk about the issues and raise our voice. We hope to use this as a foundation and work further on these problem statements for research and advocacy. We intend to form more partnerships and alliances to strengthen this movement. I hope the problems highlighted in Conqueer reach every home of India and make people think.”