Pride And The City: Creating Queer Third Spaces In Bengaluru

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02/20/2024

In the last few years, potentially due to the pandemic-caused confinement at home, the topic of third places has gained prominence in popular discourse. They can be described simply as a place of leisure and places for people to exist outside of home and work. According to Ray Oldenburg, who coined the term, they are an essential part of social functioning. For queer people, especially, safe third spaces are more of a need than a want. While there have, in the past decade, been reforms and a slight increase in acceptance, the public and private existence of the queer community continues to be dictated by society and the law. Amidst the ongoing struggle for legalised civil unions, the need for dialogue and support remains and is arguably ever-increasing. In Bengaluru, a city with a population of over 14 million and a sizeable queer population, there exist many such spaces where members of the community converge and converse. It all started in 1994 with Good As You, one of India’s oldest queer groups. Good As You arose from informal meetings, quickly turning into an actual support group, and has been running ever since, witnessing a footfall of thousands over the years. As a non-funded group, it is survived through the contributions of its attendees. Since the founding of Swabhava, an NGO that provides mental health support to LGBTQIA+ people, the group has housed itself at their office. Good As You meetings provide a platform to discuss personal concerns, topical issues, and other relevant topics.

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