The queer zine that brought “dykedom” to the forefront in India

Over 20 years ago, a group of queer women launched a zine that left an indelible impression on queer collectivizing in India. Its legacy lives on.

For almost all issues of the queer Indian zine, Scripts, the editorial was signed off with one closing remark: “Till dykedom come.”

In the zine’s two-decade lifespan, there were fifteen multilingual issues, each curated with precision, love and care. At that time, the zine left an indelible impression on its many readers and on the history of queer collectivizing in India. At the dawn of the new millennium, Iravi* – who would eventually become a longtime Scripts editor – was working on a film and wanted to feature queer women. To get her started, her friend had gifted her a copy of Facing the Mirror, a 1999 anthology of lesbian writing from India.

LABIA was created in March 1995 as Stree Sangam (A Confluence of Women) in Mumbai, rechristening itself in 2002. The original name allowed members to draw support from the rising feminist movements in the country and to take up queer concerns without explicitly saying so. Members of Stree Sangam used to receive letters – many posted anonymously – from queer and questioning women from across the country. While they would try their best to respond, many would eventually lose touch. Over time, the members realized there was a vacuum in India when it came to writing by, for and about queer women. In 1998, Scripts was conceived as a newsletter to fix this.

When the Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality in 2018, Scripts was revived in celebration. This issue – the only one online – was called Scripts 69, marking the date (the 6th of September) on which the court passed its landmark judgment.

Pride+ App salutes, celebrates and honours the Zine, Scripts, Iravi, Facing The Mirror, LABIA, Stree Sangam, and Scripts 69.

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Aayush Agrawal (he/him)

Pride+ App (Pride Plus App)

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