Published: 25th August 2018
When love trumps prejudice: How this Kerala queer group is helping the flood victims
From opening their 24*7 helpline to make distress calls to adopting tribal villages, Queerythm shows that during the adverse time, mankind unites to become one
While the rest of the world continues to view them with skepticism, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) members of Kerala's Queerythm are setting an example by helping the flood victims across the state, thus spreading the larger message that love trumps gender, caste and religious binaries.
Queerythm, a Kerala-based organisation that works for the rights of its LGBTIQ community members, have been actively involved in the rescue and rehabilitation activities of the flood victims, around the clock. "Right from the start of the torrential rain, we have been involved in the rescue and rehabilitation process. We want to lead by example and show the world that we are there for them in time of need and that as human beings we cannot choose to ignore their woes," says Prijith P K, the founder of Queerythm.
The incessant rain which hit the state on August 15, killed over 200 people and forced as many six lakh people into relief camps across the state. In order to rescue as many people as possible, Prijith along with his team opened their 24*7 helpline number 97455 45559 for the public, "This helpline was otherwise used by LGBTIQ members to reach to us when they needed our moral support. During the flood, we heavily publicised regarding the availability of the helpline to make distress calls in social media. We received as many as 200 calls asking for rescue or relief help and we passed it on to the authorities," explains Prijith.
Once the rescue operation was concluded, the members along with the public came together to collect relief materials for various camps. "We have distributed relief materials in several camps in Alappuzha, Kollam, Kottayam and Pathanamthitta. Apart from these, we have handed over the relief materials to individuals as well," Prijith adds.
Now, as per the direction of Kerala Mahila Samakhya Society, the team is at remote tribal hamlets in Pathanamthitta district with relief materials. "Konni, Seethathodu, Pappathi are the tribals settlements that suffered a lot due to the landslides. Right now, we are here with rice and grains which we sourced through our community members and well-wishers. We will be distributing it to the 60 families who are in relief camps here," says Prijith.
As they celebrate a low key Onam in Pathanamthitta, the members of Queerythm envision a robust and bright future for the tribals of Pathanamthitta, "We are planning to adopt these tribal settlements. We want to help rebuild the community here," Prijith says, hopefully.