India’s Gay Lit Takes Off

Jane Martinson takes stock of a new wave of publishing in the three years following the decriminalization of homosexuality:

Since then an anthology of queer erotica has hit the shelves, HarperCollins India has published a novel with a gay protagonist, and this month sees the release of Out! Stories from the New Queer India, an anthology of 30 contemporary stories about being queer and Indian from publisher Shobhna Kumar and editor Minal Hajratwala, both lesbians of Indian descent…. Queer writing was published in India before section 377 of the Indian penal code – a colonial law banning homosexuality – was overturned in 2009. But the tone of these new stories is very different says Kumar, who began her company Queer Ink by posting imported gay novels to customers in brown paper envelopes. "After 377, writers feel a lot more empowered to write their stories – even if some remain anonymous," she explains. "They're saying: 'I'm here, I'm queer, and there's nothing wrong with that.' They are not victims."