Is queer ‘only’ about sexuality? Or is it a state of existence?
In its truest form, nature is queer and queer is free. Nature is queer when water takes the form ofoceans, lakes, rivers, rain, snow, steam, dew and every other avatar it chooses and expresses itselfthrough. It’s queer when the soil takes the shape of a hill or a mountain or a ravine. Queer is whenone tree doesn’t force another tree to become its clone, and every flower finds a place under thesun. Queerness lies in the consciousness that if left free, everyone becomes more rooted in theirexistence and stronger in their individuality.
Queersapien is neither an individual’s search for identity, nor is it a lamentation of societal prejudices. The book recognizes the fact that there are many ways to live. A queer mind sees itself as part of the extreme diversity nature offers. It is, therefore, aware that if we shed the veneers we wear and the blinkers we view life with, we’d know there isn’t a solitary kind of food or form to clothing,history, education and wisdom. There isn’t a singular structure to a family, a union or one way tolove or one normal.
In what is a searing and raw reflection on life, media, neoliberalism, politics and the inner self,Sharif D. Rangnekar, who identifies as a gay man, explores through lived experiences, the meaningsof love, freedom, identity and dignity in a society where family, religion, caste and class dictate howwe live our lives every day. This is a book that can’t be put in a thematic box, much like queerness.Becoming queersapien is not a revolution but an evolution of the self, a nation and its people.
‘Nature doesn’t discriminate and neither should we.’ —Tanuja Chandra, Filmmaker and writer
‘Queersapien is a quiet path to answers, hope and a sort of goosebumpy upliftment. It is a book about the billion-hued rainbow we call real life.’ —Seema Anand, Mythologist, Storyteller and author
‘A detailed, personal and arresting book, Sharif D. Rangnekar’s Queersapien looks beyond tropes and assumptions to paint a wide-ranging account of what it means to be queer today. Part sociological study and part personal essay, this is a fascinating story, told with aplomb.’ —Dr Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha
‘This book is an attempt to explore the intimate relation between the public act of love and private act of self-exploration.’ —Saurabh Kirpal, Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court and author of Sex and the Supreme Court
‘Man is born free, Rousseau reminded us, but is everywhere in chains. Sharif brings to us the lived experience of liberation from such chains.’ —Dr Sanjaya Baru, Economist and writer
‘Never have I read a book that captures the multiple geographies of the heart and traverses both inner and outer worlds so effortlessly.’ —Parmesh Shahani, Author of Queeristan: LGBTQ Inclusion in the Indian Workplace
‘Sharif ’s book reinvents, expands and amplifies what I might understand about queerness.’ —Aruna Desai, Co-founder, Sweekar – The Rainbow Parents
About the Author
Sharif D. Rangnekar is a writer, curator, workplace inclusion consultant and singer-songwriter. He is the author of the critically acclaimed book Straight to Normal: My Life as a Gay Man, as well as the director of the award-winning Rainbow Lit Fest—Queer & Inclusive.
A TEDx speaker, Sharif has addressed numerous global and local forums on communications, inclusion and multiculturalism hosted by the Canadian High Commission, the British High Commission, Public Relations Organisation International, International Communications Consultancy Organisation, the American Centre and corporations such as J&J, Microsoft and Cognizant.
The creator and frontman of Friends of Linger, his band’s track, ‘Head Held High’ is considered to be India’s first dedication to the LGBT+ community. Sharif also belongs to one of India’s most diverse indie bands, The Original Knock Offs, that has artists from across the world.
A believer that communications through discussions, talks, art, literature and music are key to influencing change, he brings together over 30 years of experience in the fields of journalism, research, PR and image management in all he does. He has worked with organizations such as The Pioneer and The Economic Times in the media, and was the CEO and, later, chairman of Integral PR. Sharif is an advisor to the Global PR Trust focussing on social change and has chaired several juries such as those of the SABRE Awards and the Fulcrum Awards.