Officializing the AUD Queer Collective.
This petition had 188 supporters
Officially registering the AUD QUEER COLLECTIVE, Ambedkar University Delhi.
Our imagination of universities is in terms of them being centres of knowledge production and sharing. They can become spaces where knowledge itself is interrogated - whose knowledge and for what ends? Universities can also be imagined as microcosms of the societies in which they are established; power and politics that mark human ways of being and relating outside the university may also be imagined as marking those within. Universities then can become sites where received ways of knowing oneself and others are contested and re-learned. Originally proposed as the “ Society for Queer Activism “ , colloquially known as Ambedkar University Delhi Queer Collective ( A.U.D.Q.C. ) will be to turn these questions onto queer identities, practices, experiences, representation and expression.
Before commencing onto the proposal, it is imperative to understand the pressing need of this collective to be recognised as an official body of the university.
The AUD Queer Collective was formed about 4 years ago, by a small coalition of faculty and students. Tirelessly working towards engineering a space of acceptance in the campus, the collective provides a platform to raise a voice, to share an experience, to perform a desire, to question, dissent and exist. Being an unregistered cluster, A.U.D.Q.C is strapped of any financial assistance. Thus, only through liaising with formal bodies of the campus can it only produce work. Apart from FUNDS, the collective, being unregistered is unable to formally appear in official manifestos and student orientations. Thus, it's existence may not really be known across majority of students, faculty and staff. This camouflaged existence is a peril to AUD’s coveted liberal identity. Without recognition, students might not feel safe to celebrate their identity. An identity that calls to be celebrated across classroom discussions, books and presentations. An inclusive campus can only be achieved when that inclusivity is recognised and celebrated. A.U.D.Q.C is a part and parcel of the LGBTQ+ movement in India, pushing forward for a queer friendly campus at AUD, in the wake of 377. A.U.D.Q.C lauds the addition of a zero tolerance policy for sexual harassment on the basis of gender and sexual identity as part of AUD’s welfare measures but it needs to also create spaces of tolerance, help celebrate freedom of expression and identity and procure a safe haven for the underprivileged and marginalised queers. The recognition of the collective, in such a scenario of overlapping possibilities, becomes indispensable to be formally anointed as a society.
Ergo, we have prepared a two pronged approach to create a safe space.
1. Support: To create spaces and build a culture in the university where the queer - of practices and identities - can reclaim a sense of dignity, creativity and well-being.
The society envisages support in its many manifestations – psychological, social and legal to the university members as also extending to outside the university.
The society intends to conduct out-reach and foster a culture and community that critically engages with heteronormativity, creating spaces for difference; this will be centred at the university while radiating out and beyond. It imagines achieving this through regularly conducting activities on campus such as film-screenings, work-shops, invited lectures, interactive sessions as also hosting queer cultural expressions such as photo-exhibitions, art-exhibitions, book-readings and staging of theatre, dance and music events.
The proposed society aims to extend support to queer activist efforts outside the university by taking a stand on instances of violence or discrimination against the queer community or individuals – for instance by joining demonstrations, holding university-level discussions, and making public statements. The society will also liaise with other groups and communities in the city and beyond to build a network of queer activists and supporters. Such undertakings will not only purge all the misunderstandings related to Queer community but will also ensure a positive approach in accepting the community.
2. Archive: The society will look into archiving queer histories through visual and print media - photographs, films, videos, private documents, etc.Some of the foci of the archive may be to document(1) histories of various queer activist agencies and institutions in Delhi and elsewhere (2)queer biographies in Delhi and elsewhere(3) the visual and textual evidences and data (including oral histories) in relation to queer life and cultural expressions in different historical periods in Delhi and elsewhere.
The society will consciously seek to reach the diversity represented by the Indian queer population with an aim to enable the queer community to challenge the available histories which exclude them from ambit.
This approach in its entirety is extremely difficult to respond to without funding from the university. AUDQC does host events, but it becomes very cumbersome to financially support them. Except collaborations, which is again a burden to process, or personal pocket donations from students and faculty, it doesn't have any options left. This becomes a complete embarrassment for such a collective to function at this historical varsity. Given that this varsity has always batted for a non discriminatory and a diverse space of tolerance.
The collective is hopeful that the committee will understand the pressing need of such society and give our collective a green card to step towards a future of hope.
Proposed by students and faculty of the AUD Queer Collective.
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