The Art & Charlie Blog

Queer Identities from Local Traditions

Queer Identities from Local Traditions

Deities associated with Queer identities are worshipped across India in local traditions, where the binary gender barrier is crossed without hesitation or questioning since times ancient. We love the inclusivity of these narratives compared to mainstream traditions!

1. God Iravan's head, Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore

Aravan is the god of the trans community, trans community members reenact the event of marriage between Aravana and Mohini (the female avatar of Lord Vishnu), a legend prominently mentioned in the Tamil version of Mahabharata.


2. Lord Shiva dressed as Gopi, Gopeshwara

According to a legend Lord Shiva was attracted to Lord Krishna and disguised himself as beautiful Gopi to be around Krishna. There are several temples in North India dedicated to Lord Gopeshwara.


3. Goddess Yellamma Temple, Saudatti, Karnataka

Goddess Yellamma is worshipped by the transgender community called Jogappa. Jogappa is one of the least known communities that identify themselves as the people who have been touched or possessed by the Goddess


4. Bahuchara Devi

Goddess Bahucara is associated with the trans community, there are several folktales associated with this goddess where her association with the trans community is mentioned. Her temple is located in parts of Gujarat and Rajasthan.


5. King Bhagirath, Brihadishwara Temple, Thanjavur

Krittivasi Ramayan, a Bengali version of Ramayana composed in the 15th century by Bengali poet Krittibas Ojha mentions a story of King Bhagirath having two mothers.


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