Research Fellow, Transgenderqueer, Feminist
Born in a middle class south Indian family, Navadeep grew up telling his parents that he wanted to become a monk. After completing primary school, their family moved from a small town in Nalgonda district to the city of Hyderabad for better education. He graduated in Economics and Political Science from University College. It was in that college that he started his activism and voluntary work. He is currently working as a short-term research fellow at Anveshi Research Centre for women’s studies in Hyderabad.
‘My very first area of work was with families of farmer who had committed suicide, where I was working as a member of the Caring Citizens Collective group. Following this, I started a non-governmental organisation called OYSTER (Organisation by Youth for Social Transformation and Environmental Recoup) through which I went on to become the first student of the then 122-year-old Nizam College to start a new certificate course focusing on community work.’
‘By the end of the second year of my graduation, life had hit me and my parents hard with the death of my twin brother who introduced me to the word “gay” and very much unknowingly helped me in the process of realising and accepting my sexuality in my late eighteens! This changed my plans of coming out; and along with my brother, I also cremated my sexuality for the time being, so as not to hurt my parents any further.’
‘ . . . I had involved myself more in travelling to various places in the country to understand and participate in different people’s movements. As a part of this, I also had an opportunity of interning under Anna Hazare in his village, Ralegao Siddhi. After that I was destined to meet a monk with whom I travelled for a year in the process of understanding religion, spirituality, and inter-religious dialogue in the country. Though, by then, I hadn’t become a monk yet. I had completed my graduation in the year 2011, soon after which I was offered the job of placement officer and career guidance trainer in the same college. Along with the job, I started my graduation in law. Unable to live through the suffocation created by too much of mainstream institutionalization, I happened to quit both the LLB and the job. With a sudden call for exploring my desire of being a monk, I took an oath of being a celibate till the time I rejoice it. Following this I left home and moved into a village 70 kms away from Hyderabad where I lived on alms (read as begging) and by engaging with the community in various aspects such as spirituality, health, education, and agriculture. This was the time, which had challenged my greatest fears and also my deepest convictions. By the time I found peace and tranquillity in this life, the death of a gay student in a university in Hyderabad shook me off of my comfort waking me up to the reality, beckoning me to think how my queerness is not just an individual’s personal issue but a large social and political issue. Almost after a year-long stay in the village, with lot of uncertainty I moved back to Hyderabad and started engaging with the Hyderabad LGBT community. For a good 8 to 10 months I did nothing other than being part of LGBT scene and activity. Been part of Hyderabad LGBT pride organising team in year 2014 & 2015. Coming out to parents, friends, and society had happened with all the possible drama that one could expect, which I am all prepared for.’
‘While all this was happening at its own pace, I was offered the job of corporate social responsibility coordinator of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, at Bosch. The curiosity of knowing how CSR and corporate world is operated made me take up the job, which did not last for more than three months. A research fellowship offer that I received from the three-decade-old Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies to work with the LGBT community made me instantly quit the job at Bosch. So I am currently working as a short-term research fellow at Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies in Hyderabad.’
Navadeep is a core group member of Hyderabad for Feminism. He is also the ex-offico member of Navashrusti International Trust—Operated from Mumbai and Nagpur and the governing body member of Pain relief and Palliative Care Society of Hyderabad, as well as the Trade Union Advisor for Domestic Workers groups with Montfort Social Institute.
His work involves part research and part activism. His major area of involvement is how to engage with the regional language ‘Telugu’ space in relation with LGBTQ rights and issues. Religion, spirituality and engaging with religious groups are other areas of interest that he keenly pursues. Alongside understanding the intersectionality of feminist movement and LGBTQ movement and further understanding how the same can be achieved with other right-based and people’s movements is also something he is looking at. He also feels that it’s quite important for the queer movement itself to be cautious and deal with the homonormativity that is being created consciously/unconsciously in this fight for equal rights and equal spaces.
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