Borderlines Episode 5: Meet Malobika from India


Borderlines (co-produced with CREA) is a seven-part video series documenting how feminists work, intervene, and connect the dots across the region to create knowledge in South Asia.

Malobika is a queer feminist activist, engaged in the LGBTQ rights movement in India for the last 23 years. She is the co-founder of the collective Sappho, and also set up the organization Sappho for Equality in Kolkata, in 2004. Sappho works for the rights and social justice of individuals with non¬-normative gender-sexual orientations, identities and expressions.

At the age of 20, Malobika formed an imaginary friendship with tennis legend Martina Navratilova, after reading about her coming out in Anandabazar Patrika. It was the first time she heard the term ‘lesbian’, and at 21, Malobika first came out to herself. In this interview, Malobika speaks of the innumerable borders she has crossed: body, family, identity, and state. Much of this border crossing has been forged through her belief and practice of feminism. For Malobika, feminism is not only about challenging patriarchy and gender relations, but also about the “connections of souls” working for love, friendship and resistance.

Malobika also speaks of why queer struggles need to embed themselves in feminist movements, how she views her own leadership from a feminist lens, and how this connection of souls translates to working together across borders to archive and create new kinships.

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