28 July, 2021

Happy, Gay, Lucky! Third Eye Cafe, Embracing The LGBT Community With Elan

Supreme Court's partial striking down of the Section 377 in September 2018 has given the LGBT community more freedom to express themselves. Mumbai's Third Eye Cafe is one such outlet offering a haven from prejudice

Break Free
A drag performance at Kitty Su in The LaLiT, Delhi
Happy, Gay, Lucky! Third Eye Cafe, Embracing The LGBT Community With Elan

Maahi Pujari felt trapped and unwelcome. Her gender expression did not conform to society’s expectations, causing much consternation to her family. When she was just 13, she had to flee from home and beg on the streets of Pune. “I was the eldest child in a middle-class Maharashtrian household. Hon­­­­­our is far more important to us than money. Even after I left home, my relatives and neighbours who spotted me begging in a sari would complain to my parents. Why should my family go through that trauma because of me? I never went back home after I left,” she says.

Thirteen long, difficult years have since passed and life holds more promises than ever before for Maahi, a 26-year-old trans woman working in Navi Mumbai’s Third Eye Cafe. It’s an eatery that consciously and unabashedly embraces the marginalised third gender and provides the increasingly visible queer community a space to safely socialise without the fear of being judged.

“My life was a nightmare in Pune. People would treat us like stray dogs. But now,...

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