Students, scholars and professors alike took part in the film fest which was followed by sensitisation sessions on the LGBTQIA+ community Credit: Lachit Roy 

Guwahati: In a bid to sensitise the masses on the LGBTQIA+ community, ‘Xobdo’, the first ‘queer movement’ of Tezpur town in Assam’s Sonitpur district, organised ‘QueerTessential 2.0’ — the 1st Tezpur Queer Film Festival — in Tezpur University (TU) on Wednesday.

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Six short films were shortlisted for the event which were produced by Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT) and screened for the first time in the screening hall of the the department of mass communication and journalism in TU. Students, scholars and professors alike took part and even put forward their views during the interactive session that followed the screening.

Short films that were screened during the festival

The movies showcased topics of gender, sexuality and even the importance of a supportive environment, identity crisis, complexities of urban cruising, to name a few. These topics, for some, might feel to be a mundane affair, never thinking twice the intrinsic complexities that anyone from the LGBTQIA+ faces in those simple things.

QueerTessential, which later transformed to ‘Xobdo’, had its inception on TU campus in 2018. Arpana Choudhury, co-founder of Xobdo, said the word ‘QueerTessential’ is derived from the word quintessential aka ‘queer talk is essential’. “So basically, QueerTessential is an outreach project of Xobdo through which we carry out sensitisation on the LGBTQIA+ community among the youth through discussions and film screenings,” said Choudhury.

Sensitisation sessions act as a common safe space where people can share their views and thoughts on the LGBTQIA+ community 

With the addition of new content in the field of media, one can actually see the change of narrative in the representation of the community as a whole. However, much work is still needed to be done for which sensitisation programmes are quintessential, said Choudhury.

The word ‘queer’ is a blanket term and its usage directly clarifies that one is not ‘straight’ and ties to the larger community of LGBTQIA+. The vagueness of the term is actually intentional, connoting anyone outside the heterosexual norm.

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