Orinam, founded in 2003, is an all-volunteer unregistered collective of LGBTIQA+ people and allies based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It functions as a support, cultural and activist space. On-the-ground activities including meet-ups, peer counselling and referrals, film festivals and literary events, sensitisation workshops, and advocacy and networking with other LGBTIQA+ and other progressive groups and movements in the city, state and country.
Orinam (ஓரினம்) is a Tamil word that means ‘One kind’ or ‘One community’.
Our Vision is a world where individuals of all sexual orientations, genders and sex characteristics are able to access their human rights free of discrimination.
Our Mission is to enhance understanding of alternate sexualities, gender identities and intersex differences among families, communities and society (with a geo-cultural Tamil Nadu, India, focus) and provide a platform for creative expression, personal and social commentary by LGBTIQA+ people of Tamil origin and our allies.
Our Values include a commitment to ending sexism, homophobia, biphobia, interphobia, and transphobia, both internal and external to our communities. We also oppose prejudice based on community, caste, place of origin, (dis)ability, ethnicity, ability, religion, and other visible and invisible markers of identity. Please call us out on our own prejudices, should you find any in the editorial content of this website.
Our Tagline, also the rallying call of Chennai’s first Rainbow Pride held in 2009, is the quote by Tamil poet and freedom fighter Mahakavi Bharathi, translated as:
Hues may vary, but humanity does not
This line stresses the notion of sameness across difference, or unity in diversity, a cornerstone of India’s national aspiration and basis for the LGBTIQA+ struggle for equality.
Our logo represents the spectrum of genders and sexualities beyond binaries. The gender symbols in different colours merge into the ‘O’ of Orinam, indicating a fundamental oneness, as articulated in Bharathiyar’s quote.
Our website Orinam.net, first launched in October 2006, is a bilingual site (Tamil and English), that serves as an online resource for those of us who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, intersex, asexual, non-binary, etc., particularly those with cultural ties to Tamil Nadu, India, and its global diaspora.
This site has multiple sections:
Resources For has information for those seeking to learn about LGBTIQA+ issues in the Indian milieu, such as our families, friends, allies, and professionals from fields such as media, healthcare, law, religion, and the world of work. This section also has resources for LGBTIQA+ people on coming out, dealing with friends and family, workplace and campus issues, health and wellness among many other resources.
Our Voices – The Orinam blog features narratives by LGBTIQA+ people and our families, creative writing including poetry and fiction, and news, views and reviews.
The 377 archives with information and updates on India’s efforts to overturn the colonial sodomy law Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code
The Orinam Photo archives with images of queer/trans community events around India.
377 Letters Letters written to the Chief Justice of India, Supreme Court of India, why decriminalisation of same-sex relationships matters.
Chennai Pride Information and event updates on Chennai Rainbow Pride events such as the press meet, press releases, Pride march, and other events organized by the Tamil Nadu Rainbow Coalition (formerly Chennai Rainbow Coalition) or by organizations/individuals that are part of TNRC. In 2010 – a year after Pride began in 2009 – members of the then-called Chennai Rainbow Coalition had approved Orinam’s hosting of the chennaipride.net page. Originally established June 8, 2010 on http://orinam.net/Chennaipride, the name domain chennaipride.net was subsequently acquired. Archives dating back to 2010 may be accessed via the Wayback machine on archive.org here.
Our Twitter page @chennaipride is a way to keep informed of LGBT-related events in and around Chennai, new content on our website, and news of relevance to the broader LGBT-and-ally communities of which we are a part.
Our mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org, initiated in 2003, is a discussion forum and safe online space for the LGBT communities in Chennai and those with ties to the Tamil Nadu region, cultures and communities. Much of the content on the Orinam.net is selected from discussions on the MP list, reproduced with consent of the authors.
Our Facebook presence: Orinam has a public FB page at https://www.facebook.com/Orinam.net/. In addition it runs a secret group, that has been seeing more traffic in recent years than the mailing list. To get on this group, let us know. There are additional FB groups Inclusive Jobs – Orinam, and Inclusive Health – Orinam.
- Branding: Adarsh Prasanna (Orinam), Aniruddhan (Reel Desires), Rajani and Shri (Campaign for Open Minds)
- Logo and masthead design: Raul Gabrielle (Orinam, Chennai Pride and Campaign for Open Minds), Aravind (Make Justice in India)
- Art: Gokul, Nayan, Rajat, Trinetra
- Orinam content sourcing, editing, writing, review and translation:
- Akhil, Arthi, Arvindh, Ashley, Bessi, Danish, Gowthaman, Gee, Madhumitha, Mayur, Niruj, Ondede, Ritesh, Ramki, Rajani, Sami, Shambhavi, Shri, Shyam B. Soorya, Srini, Surabhi Shukla, Velu, wallflower and many others
- Orinam website design, development, interface with developer, etc.:
- Felix, Rajani, Ramki, Shri, Velu, wallflower and others
- Orinam financial contributions for website (including CIQFF and 377 archives), and events including Quilt, CIQFF, workshops and support group meetings
- Aayush, Alex, Felix, Ganesh, Guhan, Karthik, Prahasini, Praveen, Sameer, Shri, Sundar, Vidhya, wallflower and other anonymous supporters
The Orinam.net website and activities are not supported by any institutional funding. It is an autonomous site and voluntary collective whose activities are made possible by voluntary contributions (time, writing/editing, logistics, effort, finances) by individuals from the Orinam/MP collective and well-wishers.
If you would like to contribute towards keeping Orinam going, please let us know. Your involvement and help can take many forms:
- Contributing to web-hosting renewal charges, space and equipment rental for events
- Contributing to, or bringing snacks/tea at events
- Facilitating or contributing to film review, facilitating book readings and other literary events
- Contributing to text, images, legal/policy documents, or other content for the website
- Serving as a peer supporter for community members (we prefer that people have some previous orientation in peer counseling principles and/or experience in providing support.)
- Adding to our resources of LGBTIQA+ friendly doctors and mental health professions.
This post is also available in: தமிழ் (Tamil)