Back when I was navigating my own sexuality, there weren't many safe spaces for queer folks in India on social media. But when I stumbled upon the Gaysi Family, it became a crash course in understanding the community and a way to connect with others who were sharing their own stories and experiences. Gaysi isn't just about the social side of being queer. It's about diving deep into what queerness really means - as a philosophy, a political stance, a way of looking at the world. The platform gives a megaphone to individual voices, letting more people reflect on and relate to the queer experience.
And Gaysi doesn't stop online. Gaysi's influence stretches far beyond the digital realm, branching out into vibrant physical gatherings. The most recent feather in their cap is the zine bazaar — a lively affair that goes beyond the usual conventions. Alongside establishing their own zines, they roll out the carpet for an annual zine bazaar, launched in 2018. This two-day extravaganza, orchestrated by the dynamic queer collective, Gaysi Family, serves as a physical safe space for over 60 artists hailing from every corner of the country.
This isn't just a showcase of art; it includes exhibitions, discussions, workshops, and panel discussions. Each edition revolves around a central theme, which forms the basis for the zines and programming. 'Identity', 'Vision', and 'Desi Fantasy' were the themes of the first, second, and third editions of the festival respectively. The festival was conducted in Mumbai in 2018, and subsequently, it extended its reach to both New Delhi and Mumbai in 2019. However, due to the prevailing pandemic, it observed a hiatus in 2020 and 2021. It reemerged with vigour for its fourth edition in Mumbai in October 2022.
This year, Gaysi is embarking on an exhilarating new journey in their Art and Design Festival. They're bidding farewell to the old format, opting instead for a chapter that embraces a broader spectrum of artistic expression. Yet, in the midst of this evolution, they're steadfastly holding onto the core of what makes them special – providing a space that's inclusive, welcoming, and inviting to all.
They’re calling for enthusiasts to come forward and exhibit their zines, comics, mixed media art illustrations, sculptures, merch visual art, and more. The Gayzi Zine Bazaar, previously, has seen an impressive array of talents occupy its stages. Notable names such as Blaft, Bombay Duck Designs, Boomranng, goodbadcomics (alias Aditi Mali), Kadak, Kritika Trehan, Kruttika Susarla, and LABIA have all showcased their works at this event. In addition to these, celebrated figures like actors Faezeh Jalali, comedian Pramada Menon, and singer Ramneek Singh have captivated audiences with their performances over the years.
Gaysi Family is yet to release more information about this year’s talented lineup. However, the application process for the Gaysi Zine Bazaar is designed to ensure a curated and meaningful experience for all participants. Given the limited number of spots available, they encourage applicants to furnish comprehensive details about themselves, their artwork, and their zines.
The deadline for the application is the 5th of October. Submit your application and follow Gaysi Zine Bazaar here!