This Duo Is Bringing Out The Northeast Queer Struggles Through ‘The Chinky Homo Project’
- IWB Post
- September 4, 2019
When Kumam Davidson and Pavel Salgolsem noticed a dearth of Northeastern queer folks in the Indian queer narrative, they decided to take charge and challenge these dynamics.
“The subjectivity and experience of northeast queer is one which is hardly understood, discussed or represented in queer spaces, queer movements, and media in general. There is clearly an inherent racial undertone to it, but also regional, class, linguistic, cultural etc though race is the most obvious feature,” said Davidson in a recent interaction with HomeGrown.
Building on the same thought, Salgolsem says, “Often the power doesn’t lie on our hands as we again belong to one of the most underdeveloped parts of the country. With the power not in our hand, we have no choice but to conform to the existing dynamics and try and figure what’s best for the self in the bound of what is given to us.”
After much brainstorming on the same lines, the duo came up with an idea.
Davidson shares, “In February this year, I wrote a short piece about being Northeastern and queer in Delhi, shared it on my Instagram page and changed my account username to ‘chinkyhomo’. The experiences of both subjectivities were always there as a queer migrant from the Northeast in Delhi and at that point, I must have reached the threshold and couldn’t be silent anymore. So, I started blogging on Instagram along those lines, and the first few posts caught the attention of some people including Pavel.”
After just the initial few posts on his Insta blog, Davidson knew that he had hit jackpot and thus began the journey of The Chinky Homo Project.
When you think about the name of the blog, it does include terms that connote negative stereotypes and are considered slurs. However, Salgolsem explains that the intention is not to offend anyone but to appeal to the popular imagination and initiate a fruitful dialogue from that.
“Bringing together of the two words was quite inevitable, particularly talking about the experience of a queer person from the Northeast, who are not even represented in popular discourses on and of the region,” he explains.
He adds, “We might encounter many people coming out with their stories and thereby bringing out the diversity of ideas, thoughts and preferred way of life of the chinky homos. Once liberated from the bound of stereotype, we might not need the two words anymore. Each will be treated as human and on judged personality and ability rather than ethnicity and cultural background.”
Under the project, the duo has been collecting testimonials and experiences of people and with the help of it generating dialogue and creating peer support for queer migrants from the Northeast.
The duo hopes that the project would impact a change and bring growth in all directions, both medium wise as well as linguistically. Davidson says, “Given the availability of more resources, bringing in visual arts such as photography, videography and other artworks on queer issues has been under discussion for a while. Making it multilingual and giving a wider representation and readership across is another goal of the Project.”
He adds, “For now, it’s a real challenge to keep it multilingual, so we are relying on the translation of testimonials from original to the English language. The other challenge is to document testimonials from more remote corners of the region where coming out, English language and queer advocacy are distant realities.”