New Delhi [India], June 1 (ANI): To celebrate and support the LGBTQIA+ community, Instagram on Tuesday announced a partnership with The Queer Muslim Project, to present the second edition of the Digital Pride Festival.
While LGBTQIA+ communities have always been a celebrated part of Facebook and Instagram, it's the people within these communities and their allies who make Pride what it actually is. The Queer Muslim Project (TQMP), which is South Asia's largest virtual network of Queer, Muslim and allied individuals, is one such community.
TQMP conceived the Digital Pride Festival in 2020 to virtually celebrate LGBTQIA+ rights, take digital actions and demonstrate allyship. Now in 2021, Instagram has partnered with the community for the second edition of this festival, with the aim of inspiring creativity, self-care, well-being and connectedness during the pandemic.
Two of the events at the festival will also be co-presented by the British Council, who continue to showcase their commitment towards LGBTQIA+ art and culture in India from the first edition of the festival.
Tara Bedi, Public Policy and Community Outreach Manager, Instagram, India, said, "Through these difficult times, we've seen our community use Instagram in incredible ways as a space for connection, support and community action. The Digital Pride Festival with TQMP will include conversations to address safety, well-being, allyship, but most importantly, represent and amplify the voices of diverse, immensely talented LGBTQIA+ creators and activists, and help us continue our journey to make Instagram more inclusive."
Instagram also announced new features like a new sticker pack, rainbow gradient hashtags and a rainbow gradient story ring. Speaking about the new features, Tara added, "We're also updating some of our favourite creative tools and releasing new features that colorfully highlight LGBTQIA+ expression across Feed and Stories."
Updated features from Instagram include:
New LGBTQ+ Sticker Pack: Created by LGBTQIA+ artists from Instagram's global community, they're expanding their Pride Stories stickers for a visual celebration of the LGBTQIA+ community. Once placed on a photo or video, just tap on the sticker to reveal further designs. This sticker pack is the most representative of Instagram's global LGBTQIA+ community that they have ever launched, including gender non-conforming, asexual, trans and gender-fluid.
Rainbow hashtags and Story ring: Instagram has partnered with key policy partner, GLAAD, again this year to update the 2020 list of prominent hashtags, such as #genderfluid, #pridefamily, and #gayvisibility, used throughout the LGBTQIA+ community. When used in a Feed or Stories post, these hashtags will be displayed in a rainbow gradient. Additionally, when one of these hashtags are used in a Story, the Story ring will turn rainbow while the photo or video is live for 24 hours.
Rafiul Alom Rahman, Founder and Executive Director, The Queer Muslim Project said, "Digital Pride Festival 2.0 is a celebration of love, equality and freedom in these times of a global pandemic. With our tag #PrideAtHome, we honour contemporary LGBTQIA+ art and artists for all they offer to us within the comforts of our homes. Together with Instagram, we have scaled the festival this year and included an array of creator voices from the community as well as celebrated names such as Bollywood filmmaker, Zoya Akhtar."
Speaking about the festival, Alom added, "The festival will promote safety and care online and build transformative conversations on representation, visibility and well-being of LGBTQIA+ persons - all the while showcasing the beauty and power of Queer art, storytelling, and culture and community through the month of June."
The festival will begin on June 11 and will go on till June 27. It will consist of 5 segments, including creator panels, performances, panels on online safety, mental health, and a masterclass on new tools of expression such as Reels.
Some of the confirmed speakers include ace filmmaker Zoya Akhtar (@zoieakhtar), illustrator and designer, Sonaksha (@sonaksha), creators Roshini Kumar (@rosh93) and Durga Gawde (@durgagawdestudio), Sangath's 'It's Ok To Talk' (@itsoktotalk) programme director, Pattie Gonsalves, creator Prajakta Koli (@mostlysane) and mental health advocate and the co-founder of Yuvaa (@weareyuvaa), Nikhil Taneja. (ANI)