From the ‘helpful psychiatrist’ who will cure you of homosexuality, to the ‘over-friendly neighbourhood aunty’ who assures you it’s just a phase, this Beginner’s Guide to Indian Homophobes hilariously encapsulates every kind of homophobe you can encounter with their ridiculous theories on homosexuality. Created by Sakshi and Sreejita for Gaysi, the wickedly relatable series truly hits the nail on the head.
Sakshi, the mind behind the concept, tells us about its inception. “I had wanted to work on such a series for a while now. Its seed was sown back in 2012 when I performed a piece (along with Gaysi team member Anuja) called ‘Shit Straight People Say To Lesbian’ at our very fist open mic night called Dirty Talk. But with so many things we do at Gaysi, considering we are a core team of only four, this idea somehow took a back seat. However, last month when we were planning our May campaign on creating awareness around Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, I pitched this idea to the core team and then approached Sreejita to help me visualise it. If this piece ever had to be done, this was the RIGHT time. “This series of illustrations is one part of a larger on-going campaign by Gaysi around Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.”
As Sakshi took her idea to Sreejita and simply told her “Desi-Queers should be able to relate to the characters instantly”, she immediately loved it, and the design elements started coming together. “When Sakshi gave me the brief, I figured that simple lines and identifiable faces would work best for a series like this. Admittedly, I was inspired by some real-life homophobes to create the faces for this post. I feel quite satisfied about it.”
Most creativity is sparked from real life experiences, and it’s exactly the same when it comes to the pair’s satirical guide. Both admit to having met several individuals similar to their homophobic character creations. As Sreejita shares, “The psychiatrist for one. Both Sakshi and I came up with a few “types” each. And honestly, there are so many more out there who need to be spoken about.”
Hearing ill-informed, homophobic comments might make most people fume with frustration, but the perfect response is hard to come by in that moment. We asked the pair what they’d say to such utterances, and Sakshi quickly quips on ‘homosexuality is a disease’ comments. “They should first focus on eradicating Cancer and other such pressing diseases. And let us Gays be unnatural.” Sreejita shares her own response to homophobia. “I have heard people say such things. When I was younger, I would get really angry and throw a hissy fit. Now that I am a lot more dignified, I usually tell them, ‘Kindly lubricate your opinion and put it to some use that’s better than its current one. Thx.’”
Sreejita, who writes comics, writes about comics and hoards cats, created the artwork for this bitingly sarcastic series, while Gaysi Family co-founder, workaholic and soon-to-be cat lady Sakshi was behind the concept. Scroll on for the duo’s witty creation via Gaysi titled ‘A Beginner’s Guide To Indian Homophobes’.