Published: 23rd June 2020
Two years on, IIM Kozhikode's LGBTQ club still awaits recognition - but is going strong
Umeed was set up in 2017 as a resource group for the LGBTQIA+ community of IIM Kozhikode. Section 377 was decriminalised in 2018
It's been close to two years since India's Supreme Court decriminalised the controversial Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. On September 6, 2018, right after the Supreme Court proclaimed its verdict, we spoke to Himanshu Singh, one of the founders of Umeed, an LGBTQ resource group in IIM Kozhikode. Delighted by the verdict, Himanshu, an openly gay man, was quite hopeful of Umeed becoming a formal club and getting recognised by the institute's administration.
Two years have passed and two batches of students have graduated since then. However, things remain the same for the club. The current members of the club say that it is yet to recognised by the institute. "We were told that if they allow us to be official, many other groups will also want recognition," says Rakhi, a member.
The group was founded in 2017 to make IIMK a safe space, to sensitise conversations around gender and to promote equality for the LGBTQ community formed by allies, faculty and community members. "Even though we are not recognised, we still conduct events and activities. A lot of students and faculty support us," says Rakhi. She, however, says that funding is still an issue for the club.
"In the past year, we did conduct a lot of activities, including film screening to sensitise conversations around gender and awareness talks. We were planning to conduct a gender-fluid dressing fest on campus in March. But that was when the lockdown happened," she says.
Umeed also mentors students in an attempt to make IIMK a safe space for all groups. "We also make sure that IIMK is no place for homophobic and sexist comments. I'm proud that ours is now a campus where people can be themselves, without fear," says Rakhi. Through the lockdown, Umeed has been engaging in conversations with its members through social media.
This Pride Month we're celebrating diversity in its truest, most leveling form by bringing to you stories of hope and great cheer from the LGBTQIA+ community from across India in our new series Matter of Pride. If you'd like to reach out to any of them or need help, reach out to us WhatsApp at +917358029990