The story of Gay Bombay is like that of the calf that, one fine day, thought of leaving the beaten path that others followed, and started treading on land no one had stepped on before. As years passed by, that same trail left by this cow is now an arterial road passing through the heart of a metropolitan city.
If you have visited this site for the first time, it means you have just stepped into a little space on the web called GayBombay. Namaskar! Welcome!
GayBombay is a self-evolving informal group, a result of like-minded gay people from Mumbai (mainly, but not totally) coming together in good faith to create a safe space for men who are romantically and sexually attracted to men. All of us at GayBombay have experienced the joys and sorrows of being ‘different’. We wanted to make things a little easier for those who have come after us. So we created this space where gays can:
* Exchange views using the GB mailing list [email@example.com]
* Participate in (and even help organize) offline GB events
* Meet and interact in the socio-cultural space of GB Meets
Our aim is to make you (and eventually your family and friends) comfortable with your sexuality, and make life a bit easier.
Being gay is never easy. First there is the feeling that makes you happy. Then the realization that not everyone around shares this feeling. In fact, many consider it to be abnormal, vile, even sinful. There is the struggle to accept the feeling as perfectly normal. Then comes the frustration when you cannot share it with your family and friends. You fear humiliation, condemnation and ultimately, rejection. You desperately need to talk, share, and feel that you are not alone.
We understand these feelings. Hence we created this ‘safe space’. Safe space does not mean you are free to do what you wish. It is space where:
* You discover there is more to being gay than casual sex and solicitation.
* The intellectual, emotional and fraternal aspects of gay life are emphasized
* You find the strength and confidence to lead a fulfilled life and reach your highest potential.
Founded in September 1998, this group is a vibrant and engaging space that has conducted over 800 events in the last 14 years for the lgbt community, including parties, treks, picnics, film festivals, parents meets, cooking meets, kite-flying, speed dating brunches, raksha bandhan, special meets on topics like safe sex, HIV/AIDS, relationships, depression, finances, Section 377, and much much more. The idea is to create comfort around alternate sexuality for individuals and their families and friends. Welcome to GB!
Our outreach includes:
1) www.gaybombay.org, our website. Here you will find a rich repository of our reports on special events of the past 14 years, as well as announcements of our future events.
2) firstname.lastname@example.org, our mailing list, a dynamic, moderated forum with over 7500 members to discuss gay-related issues.
3) The GayBombay Facebook page is an unmoderated forum to allow around 2300 members of the community to express themselves within the framework of the group’s mandate to create a safe social space.
We sought to make some ventures self-sustaining by asking beneficiaries to pay. Those who wished to help absorbed the initial losses. Later, the profits were used to pay back those who had made available the initial capital (most were written off in a spirit of camaraderie). The profit is now being used to fund non-revenue generating online and offline activities.
In the pre-Gaybombay days, we realized there were many young men who were gay but felt out of place in the gay cultures they stumbled upon. Some groups focused addressed only sexual needs through solicitation and discussion of sexual conquests. Others saw being gay as an immensely enjoyable ‘side-activity’ to an otherwise heterosexual existence. There were those for whom being gay meant activism, politics and the law. Many young men not belonging to any of these schools of thought, went into their shell feeling frustrated, alone and miserable. We chose to address these young men by creating a group that was different. Since the effort was mainly web-based initially, to address the non-web-based community, a personal interaction venture, “The Sunday Meets’ was initiated. And now fourteen years we are proud of this safe space.
There is nothing ‘official’ about the group. There never was, and there still isn’t a membership form, registration fee, annual general meetings, minutes of meetings and voting or veto. Everyone is free to participate. In fact, participation is encouraged, as the group has to evolve in order to survive.
The group organizes GB events to facilitate offline interaction between members. What is a GB event? Events that respect GB values of safe space, of not promoting sex and solicitation, of respecting the wishes of those who participate in them. There is an informal core group that contributes to and spearheads the decision-making processes [the informal core-group]. It is also an activity where all funds go to pay for GB-events.
So welcome to the GayBombay family!