Sneha’s work focuses on girlhood, education and coloniality in India. She is also a Tutorial Fellow in Geography at Brasenose. As a queer Indian woman, she’s proud of her identity and wants to help build anti-heteronormative communities in academia.
I was sorry to miss Pride this year, as I wasn’t well. Pride Oxford 2023 felt particularly important. As a person who grew up in a context where same-gender love was criminalised it has been terrifying to see the normalisation of transphobia in British public culture. Pride, as I see it, is an opportunity to celebrate the joy of queer life that is rarely on display in the battled confrontations in the media every day. This joy is political and it is protest.
We are defiantly visible and present, as queer and trans members of the community.
A community united by joy and protest
Our trans communities – and by extension, the rights of LGBTQ+ communities at large – are under attack in an unprecedented way in Britain. The UK currently ranks among the lowest in terms of trans acceptance. As an Indian woman, who cut her teeth at Pride marches led by trans communities, my queerness is not complete without the inclusion of trans and nonbinary members of the queer umbrella. I was therefore really happy to see many members of our community, including from the university, out at Pride 2023 to celebrate LGBTQ+ lives.
Pride is more relevant than ever in the present moment as there is a global resurgence of homophobia. As major organisations like the British Library are forced to take down social media posts in support of Pride, it is increasingly important to remember that Pride is protest – it is about securing the rights of those whose lives do not fit into normative moulds of what gender, coupling, or family ought to look like.
Visions of the future
I envisage a future in which we can come together to build systems of support that enable expressions of gender and sexuality that might be minoritized. Where the terms of reasonable debate are such that queer students do not have to endure distress caused by homophobic and transphobic views. A future in which we willingly engage with difficult histories of race, coloniality, and gendered oppression in which we are all implicated.
There are lots of ways people can help. By acknowledge the ongoing attack on queer communities everywhere and being responsible bystanders; we can all play our part in keeping trans and other queer people in our vicinity safe.”