The 1990s and early 2000s were heady days for Indian queer people and their networks as they emerged from the shadows. These were days when queer communities were still criminalized and the Internet had not yet made inroads into most of India. Yet, queer people grouped together to deal with covert and overt forms of stigma, discrimination and violence in different spheres of life. Tracing the life stories of around a dozen queer individuals and their allies from eastern India, Out of Line and Offline dwells on the many ways in which queer communities were mobilized in the first decade of the movement in India, and how such mobilization affected the lives of queer people in the long run. Pawan Dhall draws on in-depth interviews, which generate compelling stories of individual lives and experiences in a society that was slowly being pressured to change. Dhall also delves into the archives of some of the earliest queer support forums in eastern India to reveal the ways in which the movement developed and grew. A thoroughly researched and poignantly human document, this volume will find an important place in the canon of literature on queer movements across the world.
Pawan Dhall has been engaged in activism and writing on queer rights in India since the early 1990s. A founding member of queer group Counsel Club (1993–2002), he worked with SAATHII, an NGO focused on health-care and social-justice access, from 2002 to 2014, and now runs Varta Trust, which undertakes publishing, research and advocacy on gender and sexuality.