By Debanuj DasGupta
My heart lies in between Kolkata (previously Calcutta), New Delhi, New York, Wyoming, San-Francisco and Akron. I have travelled across continents, and states, cities both large and small in search of building my/our queer home. The journey has been rough, challenging, painful and at the same time filled with joy.
I am a gender queer fag-boi raised at the intersections of Hindu Liberation Theology, Jesuit pursuit of knowledge and Marxist understandings of altering power structures. Needless to say growing up as a femme fag-boi was a challenge in Calcutta! I found my spirit thriving in readings of Swami Vivekananda, Goddess Kali and a firm belief that the divine is expressed through our social actions. As an out Gay activist in India, distributing condoms at public parks, I have resisted being beaten up, sexual assault and blackmail phonecalls. The key was and still is not doing this work alone. In the midst of riots and poltical upheavals, I found a circle of friends, some of whom I still keep in touch with.
My home is built across borders and boundaries. Nation-states and passports, race and class stand between me and my family of queer divas, and yet we keep coming back to each other over and over again.
My home is also filled with pain of having lost friends to suicide, AIDS and personal meltdowns. Nothing hurts more when I look back and yearn for the touch of my beloved friend who I lost over political meltdowns. And yet I continue to believe and thrive in queer friendships.
This blog my dear friends is an invitation to my home, heart and brain.
Debanuj DasGupta is a gender, sexuality and social justice activist whose work has spanned over 15 years and two continents. In 1994 s/he founded the first HIV/AIDS prevention program for Gay identified men and men-who-have-sex-with-men in Kolkata, India. Since relocating to the US Debanuj has been deeply involved with anti-violence, LGBT liberation, immigrant rights and HIV/AIDS movements. Debanuj is the past Co-Coordinator of the National People of Color Organizing Institute for the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce and has served on advisory boards of the National Network for Immigrants and Refugee Rights along with the the South Asian Health Initiative at NYU. Debanuj was awarded the prestigious New Voices Fellowship by the Academy for Educational Development in 2006, He also keeps a personal blog at Speak Up Now.
He makes his home in between Akron,OH and New York City.
This is his first posting for the Gay Wisdom Blog!