6th September 2018 will always remain an iconic date in history. Furthermore, it will forever be inscribed in history books as the day love won in India. One-year ago, the Supreme Court of India passed a judgment that was revolutionary. The order decriminalised Article 377. The law stated that same-sex cannot indulge in consensual sex. Since the verdict, the LGBTQIA+ community has gained visibility. And, there are more and more spaces opening up that are LGBTQIA+ friendly or exclusive to the community.
Cafe #377: The name says it all
One such place is Cafe #377. It opened a month prior to the anniversary of the abolishment of Section 377. And, the name screams its story. It’s a cafe that celebrates diversity, love and the queer in you. Their Facebook page describes the cafe in the best way possible,
“A queer cafe for the fabulous misfits, after all closets are for clothes not people.”
– As reported by Jiyo Bangla
Super cute, right? The Cafe is a place where people can hang out, drink, eat, talk and love freely without any judgment. It’s about being yourself and enjoying the company. As the name suggests, the Cafe provides a comfortable environment for the LGBTQIA+, and hopes for a fruitful future for the community.
With its unique logo and thematic decor, the cafe is tucked away in the corner of a busy street in South Kolkata. It’s decorated with colours of the pride flag and pink. The colours and neon details brings the place to life.
Cafe #377 is a dream project:
According to the CEO of the Cafe, Sk Manirul Islam, Cafe #377 was his dream project that has been on his to-do list for years. Also, it is his first venture in the hospitality sector. According to Islam, the space is for everyone and doesn’t cater to any single community. It’s all about unity and equality. In an interview with First Post, he asks,
“The idea is to have every space open for everyone. Why should there be exclusive spaces for particular groups of people?”
“We were clear about who we are from day one — this space stands for equality, unity, and love. It asks you to be proud of who you are as we’ve all been made equally by God,”
-As reported by First Post
Ambiance at Cafe #377
Ever since its launch, the Cafe has attracted over 2500 followers on Facebook. It hosts different events, from pink Tuesdays, ladies Wednesdays to Live music shows that feature bands and other musicians. Additionally, in honour of the one year anniversary of pride in India, the Cafe is hosting a Pride Anniversary meetup at Kolkata with Pride Circle. Founded in 2017, pride circle is an organisation that helps promote LGBTQIA+ inclusion in the workforce. The Anniversary event is free entry and is a get-together to reminisce over the journey and celebration of LGBTQIA+ community in India.
Read all about Pride Circle’s job fair: India’s First LGBTQ+ Job Fair!
Islaam describes #377 as something more than just a cafe or eatery. According to him, it is a ‘feeling’. The CEO of the cafe also talked about employment in the cafe. He says,
“We’re open to employing anyone who wishes to work here, irrespective of their gender, sexuality, or anything else. If someone from the trans-community wishes to work here, we’d be happy to help them.”
– As reported by First Post
Cafe #377 is a celebration. It celebrates the freedom that the community fought for all these years. Whether it is the aesthetics, events or menu, everything says to leave your, as Jiyo Bangla wrote it, “doubts and fears at the door”. Islam even spoke about the Pink that is splashed all over the decor and menu of the Cafe. He told First Post,
“We have pink burgers, pink pizza, and pink kebabs, made with beetroot juice!”
Why pink? because after all “pink is also a beautiful colour,” he said.
Happy Pride Anniversary
There are Queer Cafes springing up all over India. It is a sign of celebration and cheer to see that so much has happened in India since the decriminalization of the law. Pride Parades took over the streets of different cities, the country had its very first LGBTQIA+ career fair, and there are Cafes, eateries and other venues that feature everything queer. As Islam expressed, changes and progress don’t happen “overnight”. But while slow, the future of the country is moving towards diversity and inclusivity. Today, there are more places that are accessible to all. And, there is more awareness about the community. But there is a long way to go.
Did you know Hyderab has its own LGBTQ places? Hephzibah Smith’s People’s Choice Cafe is A Queer Haven in Hyderabad
Source Credit: First Post, Jiyo Bangla