Aloof from the bright and dreamy lights, there’s always that one corner in the café which used to be dedicated to people belonging to the lgbtq+ community. Carving a space amidst the darkness, the dingy rooms have tales to narrate and several stories that are buried in the cacophony of loud music. With changing times (even though the road is still long and battles are yet to be fought), several cafes are now standing tall with pride, dignity, hard work and love. Gone are the days when people mask their true identities because of society. Now, they can enjoy the breath of fresh air. There are several cafes in India which are run by the queer community that are not only inspirational but also generate employment for the LGBTQ+ community, provide a space and platform for them to share their feelings, and be unapologetically themselves.
Right from West Bengal to Mumbai, there are several cafes which are by the LGBTQ+ community which are artistic and a ‘sight for sore eyes’ aesthetic
Amra Odbhut, Kolkata
Inspired by the words of Rabindranath Tagore, Amra Odbhuth tucked away in the Jadavpur neighbourhood, is the city’s first event space and eatery which provides space to the LGBTQ+ community. The space is founded by Upasana Agarwal, Nandini Moitra and Raina Roy. As per a report,150 people from different demographics meet every once a month. The menu keeps changing every month to keep the people and the space on their toes. It provides an amalgamation of usual café and Bengali cuisine with loads of artistic experiences. The space is designed to make the LGBTQ+ community feel safe and accepted. They can be their true self without any second thoughts. Not just this, people can also donate food to someone anonymously who can’t afford to eat.
Café Guftagu, Mumbai
When provided a comfortable space, who does not like to yap away to glory? Cafe Guftagu in the Mira Road suburb of Mumbai aims at providing that comfort and safety. Sumit Pawar is the founder of the café. The decor is simple and sweet – just queer pride and a rainbow theme. For all book lovers, a stack of books written by queer authors is available. The cafe has a poster of ‘Love is Love’ with rainbow heart hangings. The café also hosted book discussions and open mic events. However, due to the brunt of the covid-19 pandemic, the café did not function regularly. So, they converted that into a space to cook meals and distributed to people who were in need.
Bambai Nazariya, Mumbai
Located in the shenanigans of the city that sleeps, Bambai Nazariya in Mumbai sets the right vibes. The café is run by the transgender community with beaming faces. Just like the name of the café suggests, the café aims at changing the perspective of how people see the world. According to the report, the café is famous for pink chai and other Bambai (Mumbai) dishes. The café is run by transgenders Deigo Miranda and Glenice D. The café is riddled with several inspirational frames which read nazariya badlo, nazara badlega (change the way you look at things and see how your perception will change). Dekho magar pyaar se (look at me with love).