In June 2016, a group of LGBTQ individuals in Bengaluru launched Amour, a community-based online platform to help queer and transgender people across India find long-term partners. The platform grew out of the need expressed by many community members who found existing dating sites to be of limited utility for those seeking long-term relationships. In the span of three months, Amour has received membership requests from over 500+ individuals across the queer and transgender communities, from India and abroad. These requests have not been limited to people from metro cities, but have included other cities and towns such as Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Dimapur (Assam), Vijayawada (Andhra Pradesh), and Kollam (Kerala).
From their interactions with these individuals, the Amour website administrators realized that many of the individuals seeking relationships are otherwise disconnected from their local communities, and have limited awareness of existing support or resources in their respective states/regions. Being isolated from queer/trans community spaces makes it difficult for community members to find support, whether they are single or in a relationship, especially if they lack accepting families and friends.
Writes Deepthi, a co-moderator of Amour and a long-time volunteer with Orinam, “My first break up was pretty devastating, and I didn’t have any friends from the community back then. I had straight friends to whom I was out, but it wasn’t the same. They were concerned, but couldn’t really help…as (I think) they didn’t know how to respond or what to do. They just saw it as “oh she is just going through a phase where she fell for a girl… isn’t that heartbreaking?” After that, I joined the community and made more friends than girlfriends and I love them more than anything (both friends and girlfriends).”
“I think it’s immensely important to have a support group/queer friends circle around you. I have seen people who just join the community groups, find a partner and leave, but fail (or don’t bother) to make friends. In their perspective, they don’t need friends, they just need a partner. It’s not wrong to have that perspective, but it’s not good. I can’t stress this enough: IMO it’s extremely important to have a queer support circle around you..not just a partner. ‘ learnt it the horrible way.”
To meet the existing need for contact information on queer support and social groups, mental health resources and other relevant information such as queer-friendly legal and medical providers across the country, Amour is partnering with Orinam to crowdsource a database of resources across the country. The database will consolidate and supplement existing lists*: the latter will, in turn, be updated as new resources are added.
We invited readers to contribute to the Amour-Orinam Google Spreadsheet. Additions may be made state-wise, in the following categories:
- NGOs/CBOs supporting queer communities
- Queer support groups, collectives, initiatives, informal groups etc. (both online and offline)
- Queer campus and student collectives
- Queer-friendly lawyers and legal collectives
- Queer-friendly or community-run crisis helplines and mental health professionals.
- Queer-friendly HIV/STD/sexual health testing/treatment centres
- Queer-friendly medical professionals (other)
- Other queer-friendly institutions (including Pride organisers, if relevant)
To have editing access, readers need to be members of one of the Indian lgbt-related googlegroups. For more information, or to suggest additional categories, contact email@example.com or Orinam.