As one of the most popular deities in contemporary Hindu worship, representations of Krishna as the divine lover are ubiquitous throughout South Asia. In recent years however, Krishna’s sexualized and eroticized iconography has also become a source of political capital for queer Hindu devotees and activists throughout India, especially those who continue to fight against the narrative that homosexuality is a colonial Western imposition. Using an analysis of GALVA activism and online community-building, this presentation demonstrates the continuum of religious practices that leverage the mythography of Krishna to re-imagine queer identities that are viewed as distinctly Indian and Hindu. In this way, concepts of gender and sexuality become intimately linked with particular methods of political activism that focus on the role of religion in the acceptance of non-normative gender identity and expression.
Session Category : 2019