India’s first online gay bookstore opens

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A lesbian has opened India’s first online gay bookstore.

Queer Ink, run by Shobhna Kumar, is based in Malad and will sell around 200 titles ranging from novels and academic texts to children’s books.

However, it will not sell erotica.

Ms Kumar, who works helping the city’s gay community, told the Hindustan Times: “I had a selfish reason for starting this, as I could not get access to these books. And Amazon would not deliver them. I think they wouldn’t get through customs as they offend Indian sensibilities.

“There are a few Indian online bookstores, but they take weeks to deliver. I figured other people must be in the same position.”

She added: “The books are for homosexuals and anyone who is coming out, or wants to know more about these subjects.

“It’s about empowering and informing. Gay people want role models, to see their lives reflected in fiction. I think one would hesitate to pick up books like this in a normal retail space, which is why I did it online.”

The website will also have a section to encourage people to submit their own writings.

Its launch comes just before the anniversary of the High Court of Delhi’s landmark judgment decriminalising gay sex between consenting adults.

In April, the country held its first mainstream gay film festival.

The ‘Kashish’ Mumbai International Queer Film Festival 2010 showed more than 100 films from 25 countries, including Dunno Y . . . Na Jaane Kyu, which has been touted as India’s first mainstream gay love story.