Orinam (ஓரினம்) is a Tamil word that means ‘One kind’ or ‘One community’. Orinam was founded in 2003, is an all-volunteer unregistered collective of LGBTI people and allies based in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. It functions as a support, cultural and activist space. On-the-ground activities including meet-ups, peer counseling and referrals, film festivals and literary events, sensitization workshops, and advocacy and networking with other LGBTI and other progressive groups and movements in the city, state, and country.
As queer individuals, we face a number of situations /problems, life can seem quite lonely and scary. People often have no one to share their issues with, seek solace or get any sense of direction. This tends to be the case with many individuals in the LGBTQIA+ community.
How can we support one another through these situations?
In an attempt to address these issues and provide members of the LGBTQIA+ a safe space where they could share and seek support to deal with issues that may arise due to their gender identity, sexual orientation and/or other intersecting factors.
Orinam is one of the initiators of the Tamil Nadu (formerly Chennai) Rainbow Coalition, a fluid cluster of groups that have individually and jointly been organizing events during Pride month annually since 2009. It is also one of the principal organizers of Reel Desires, the Chennai International Queer Film Festival, the latest in a series of queer film festivals in the city that first began in 2004.
Orinam’s diverse resource materials and archives in English and Tamil, available online at Orinam.net since 2006 and significantly expanded in 2009, have been used in many a sensitisation program and workshop in Chennai and elsewhere. They continue to be accessed by our family members, media, students, healthcare providers, and activists, among others. They have also been cited by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in its policy recommendations for transgender inclusion in India, a guidance document supplementing the April 15, 2014, NALSA verdict on transgender rights.
Orinam is part of the national LGBT+ archives project, and, specifically, is archiving legal documents, media coverage, petitions and other materials relating to IPC 377, at the site 377.orinam.net. It has also collated legal documents and analyses of the NALSA judgement.
Join them for a meet-up on the 14th founding anniversary of Orinam, Dec 25, 2017 at Semmozhi Poonga amphitheatre, Chennai. The meet-up will also double up as an edition of Orinam’s Quilt reading group. Feel free to bring along some readings on queer history or whatever else you would like to share. For more information, email them here.