With time, Instagram has evolved into a space where people from all walks of life have found a voice and the space to express themselves. As such, this social media platform is one of the places where the Indian queer community - from artists, authors, poets, illustrators, and designers - have come together to break down barriers, support the community, and work towards educating their audience about issues such as homophobia, transphobia, and inclusion.
India's LGBTQI+ influencers are ensuring that everyone feels a sense of belonging. This Pride Month, we celebrate these influencers for who they are and what they do.
Dr Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju
A doctor and a proud transwoman, Dr Trinetra goes by the username, ‘trintrin’. She is one of the first Indian transgenders to document her entire socio-medical-legal transition online. Whether it's the troubles of surviving medical school as a trans person or the politics of dating, sex, and sexuality, Trinetra writes, vlogs, and speaks about the myriad hues of 'transness'. Recently, she made history by becoming the first trans woman surgeon in Karnataka.
Born in Nepal, Anjali Lama is a familiar face in the Indian fashion industry. As the first transgender model, Anjali has often used her success story to help advance inclusivity in an industry that is now breaking down gender stereotypes. On her digital platform, she tells her story, discusses her struggles, includes her impressive body of work, and speaks out for the trans community in India.
Sushant Divgikar is a model, actor, VJ, drag performer, and LGBTQ activist with over 1.1 million followers on Instagram. In addition to his strong activism and support for all the right causes, what tends to draw the most engagement of the audience on his page is his impressive vocal range, while perfectly humming covers of English and Hindi music. His drag queen avatar, Rani KoHENur, is a popular figure who constantly promotes the message of gender equality and corporate responsibility.
An artist, activist, educator and drag performer, Durga Gawde is another of India’s most prominent LGBTQIA+ influencers. Their content revolves around promoting queer advocacy, pointing out social issues and raising awareness about gender fluidity. Apart from that, Gawde also loves experimenting with make-up and fashion.
The talented artist, musician, and actress Vivek Shraya works in a variety of genres, including music, literature, and visual art. With her best-selling book, I'm Afraid of Men and album, Part-Time Woman, she aims to inform, inspire, and educate her audience about issues including mental health, queerness, and inclusion. It's inspirational to see how she breaks so many social barriers through her work!
Alex Mathew goes by the username ‘MayaTheDragQueen‘ and has more than 18k followers on Instagram. Also a popular drag performer, his character titled ‘Mayamma’ aims to inspire people and spread positivity. Through his social media, he raises awareness about the queer community and shares his own experience to amplify his activism.
An artist and illustrator who runs the Instagram page called ‘The Effeminare‘, Anwesh Sahoo is a motivational speaker, actor, dancer, model and blogger. He was also the youngest winner of Mr. Gay World India 2016 when he was just 20 years old. A popular TEDx speaker, he believes it's essential to draw what you love. His illustrations are meant to portray his opinions on gender conformity and more through beautiful visual imagery.
With over 1M followers, Alok Menon is a popular name on social media. An author, performer, model, media personality and motivational speaker, they use their social media account to also speak up on topics like gender, sexuality, transgender and the whole of LGBTQIA+ community. They are also the author of the book, ‘Beyond the Gender Binary‘.