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Call for contributions to SCRIPTS, the queer zine

by Lesbians and Bisexuals in Action (LABIA), 26 October 2008

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by Lesbians and Bisexuals in Action (LABIA)

Issue No. 12 "Censorship"

This has been a year of Prides and Queer Azadi! These marches clearly mark a blow to the silence that state and society have imposed on all of us. With great energy and enthusiasm the marches were planned in different cities. With full regalia we were on the roads, shouting slogans, dancing, smiling, crying with happiness! Yet, how many of us decided, after much torment, not to go to the pride parade in Delhi, Calcutta or Bangalore, or to the Queer Azadi march in Bombay? Television cameras looming large over the crowds became the dissuading factor? The friendly colleague, the uncle and his children who live on the march route, “what if they see me”, became a real cause of concern?

Censorship is not new to our lives and realities. State governments have never spoken about or for us, till they are left with absolutely no option. Most of these utterances have been dreadfully homophobic. Socially, lives like ours have not been spoken of, and if at all, in hushed tones. There is are constant efforts or threats to keep us silenced too. Censorship is something we all understand. The state censors, the right wing censors, the left wing censors, various Rights groups censor, family censors, schools censor, religion censors, film festivals censor, art galleries censor and, moreover, we censor ourselves.

That exactly is the theme for the next issue of Scripts. Though we all know what censorship is, how do we as lesbians, trans, gays, bisexuals, queer-friendly people articulate it? How have we felt about state censorship, about censorship that happens at work places, censorship that happens at home with parents? What does being censored do to us? Do we censor some things or some people? Do we ever censor ourselves?

Remember letting go of that one kiss seeming so urgent at that point in the middle of a train station? Or letting go of yet another argument when a group of nincompoop straight boys walking five steps away say nonchalantly, "lesbo", "pansy" and, of course, "ladka hai ya ladki?” Chatting with seemingly liberal colleagues and when asked, “Who do you live with?” you answer, clenching your own fist, "A friend". Or when asked by one’s lover about the plan for the evening, making up a workaholic story, because you have mutually agreed to censor information about other lovers?

Which are the words that we still censor, because they are still too uncomfortable? Has queer become an easier word to identify with than, say, lesbian? Also, which censorships do we combat with full force, and which are the ones we don’t agree on as groups and individuals? Are there some censorships that we find comfort in?

All these and more are our censorship issues and concerns. As we deal with and fight various censors, we would like to know what everyone out there thinks about it, and how different people deal with it or fight it.

So start ruminating, thinking, laughing, getting angry, and tell us your queer experiences and thoughts. As always, we don’t censor any form of thought. So uncensor your reflections and recollections in the form of essays, anecdotes, cartoons, short stories, poems, drawings….

This issue is open to all transpersons, queer men, women and queer friendly folks from South Asia, living in the region, connected to the area, originating therewith, etc.

The deadline for submissions is 30th November, 2008.

Please mail your submissions to: stree.sangam AT

Guidelines for Submissions

For Literary submissions: Poetry, prose, essays, letters, scribbles, fiction – all are welcome. Submissions must be sent by email as text, or as word document attachments. While we welcome hand written works also, it is infinitely easier if you can send them as word documents or typed. You can send us hand-written documents by post – mail or scan them and send them to us as TIFF files (though we must admit that this hasn’t worked so far due to the quality of the scanning and the length of the submissions).

We are especially seeking literary contributions in Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Urdu, Tamil, Malyalam, or any other regional languages. We would, in fact, like to reserve 20% of the pages of this issue towards work in Indian languages other than English. Works will be printed in their original language. Wherever possible please send us word documents along with the font used, and an English translation transcript as well, especially if you would like it printed along with the original language piece.

Safety. Many people may not feel comfortable or safe publishing their writings under their names. If you so wish we will be willing to publish your work under your pseudonym as well. If there are any other precautions that you would like us to take, kindly alert us to the same.

For Visual arts submissions: Photographs, sketches, drawings, paintings, cartoons, doodles – are all welcome. Kindly send us your work scanned as TIFF files in high resolution by e-mail, burnt on CD-Rs, as Xeroxes or copies by post-mail. PLEASE DO NOT SEND ORIGINAL ARTWORKS.

Safety . Again please specify under which name the artworks should be printed.

What other info do we need from you?

- Kindly send in your submissions clearly marked with the name of the writer/artist. We also encourage you to send a brief write- up along with the work if you would like to give it some background.

- Do send us a very brief 2-line Bio which we can publish along with your submission. Again, if for issues of anonymity and safely you choose not to send this to us, we will understand.

- Some kind of postal address so we can send you a copy of the printed zine.

What we can do in return for your precious contributions (besides sending you a copy and ensuring as wide a distribution as possible)?

Copyright for all accepted contributions will remain with the authors. We do not reserve any right to place any of the accepted material for any other publication without the prior written permission of the authors/artists.

And finally a bit about us:

Lesbians and Bisexuals in Action (LABIA), formerly known as Stree Sangam, is an autonomous, non-funded collective of lesbian, transgender and bisexual women. LABIA is a campaign and activist group with a focus on queer and feminist activism. We have been in existence in Bombay since 1995. Our activities have included networking with individual queer women as well as queer groups in India and in other countries, campaigning for the rights of peoples and communities of marginalised genders and sexualities with other like minded groups, and organising jointly with the struggles of other marginalised groups, feminist and people’s movements. LABIA intends to further this activism and sees SCRIPTS as a vibrant space for multiple conversations of queer/feminist/activist/creative voices.

- Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays (5pm - 8pm)

You can also reach us at:
- LABIA/ Stree Sangam
- P.O. Box 16613
- Mumbai 400 019