Our Voices The Orinam Blog

Breaking the Binary in Chennai: Saturday, May 11, 2013

Breaking BinariesLABIA, a Mumbai-based queer feminist lesbian bisexual trans* collective

invite you to the release, sharing and discussion of the report

Breaking The Binary
Understanding concerns and realities of
queer persons assigned gender female at birth
across a spectrum of lived gender identities

Saturday, May 11, 2013, 5 pm – 9 pm


Dhyana Ashram
New No 25 Old No 13, Mada Church Road
Mandavelipakkam (off Santhome High Road)
Chennai  600028.

The discussion will be in English and Tamil, and is being hosted in collaboration with Chennai-based groups The Shakti Resource Center, Orinam, Nirangal, RIOV, and the East-West Center for Counselling

In 2009-2010, LABIA initiated a research study based on 50 life history narratives of queer PAGFB (persons assigned gender female at birth), and aided by discussions with queer LBT and trans* groups. 11 of us (many of us members of LABIA) did the interviews, transcripts and initial analysis, and 4 of us have been doing the further analysis and writing.

Key findings have been presented at different conferences and some of the data has been published. Now we bring you the full report.

Through this study, we explore the circumstances and situations of queer PAGFB who are made to, or expected to, fit into society’s norms around gender and sexuality. We look at their experiences with natal families and in school; we chart their journey through intimate relationships and jobs; we attempt to understand what happens to them in public spaces, and how they are treated by various state agencies; we discover where they seek and find support, community, and a refuge from the violence and discrimination that mark far too many lives.

Most significantly, this research has given us new insights into gender itself, which we feel are crucial additions to the current discourse in both queer and feminist spaces. Finally, the study flags areas of particular concern, and highlights some necessary interventions.

We ourselves are amazed at the richness and complexity of our findings and are impelled by the need to share these as widely as possible with all queer and feminist groups and individuals, activists and academics, all people working specifically with LBT persons as well as broadly in the areas of gender and sexuality — and of course all of us who are interested in knowing more about our selves.

So do join us for an intense, engaging, stimulating afternoon of presentations in English and Tamil, with time for questions and discussion (and most certainly for tea and snacks).

Hoping very much to see you there, and looking forward to your comments and feedback!


Media contact for information on the study: Chayanika Shah (LABIA) may be reached at 98335-38611 and chayanikashah@gmail.com.

For directions to the venue: Call 98415-57983 (English) or 98406-99776 (Tamil)

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