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Experiences of self-definition within LGBTQ activism in Bangalore, India: the case of Sangama, its sub and splinter groups

From a post development perspective much of the emphasis on participation in current development discourse only incorporates local needs into external strategies. Sexual and gender expression needs are rarely incorporated into such strategies. This research investigated whether groups who functioned independently of foreign or state NGO structures were able to move past a nominal participation, into true forms of self-determination. I aimed to discover whether power over personal identity and expression could survive interaction with strategies of wider social change.

I interviewed four groups who were in varying stages of separation and interaction from each other and wider activist networks, all of whom pursue radical social and political change from within a rights based ideology.

The findings illustrate how self-defined spaces are shaped by economic factors and the politics of funding needs. In addition, the strength of the gender binary and its attachment to biophysical determination were seen to hamper self-determination even with spaces of progressive activism. Outside of activist arenas the persistent ability of Bangalore society to ‘other’ non-conformity entrenches more mainstream development issues such as poverty and HIV.


Jennifer Wilson 2012


Permanent link to this article: http://kimmagedsc.ie/dissertation/lgbtq-activism-in-bangalore/

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