The paper maps the site of a funded research project to understand how three knowledge articulations—harassment-knowledge, LGBTQ-knowledge, and intersectionality-knowledge—intersect in and around a research project and are produced, circulated, interrogated, and codified to note how intersectionality-knowledge effaces other possible articulations. The paper begins with an auto-ethnographic account of a Ford Foundation funded research project in India, led by key power-brokers of the LGBTQ+ movement, focusing on concerns of discrimination of non-normative genders and sexualities in India. The paper juxtaposes a Ford Foundation funded research project, a narrative from the fieldwork conducted for the project, and a draft of the Equality Bill, 2020 drafted by an organization invested in legal advocacy. The paper highlights the depoliticization of intersectionality, arguing that necessary work must go into mapping the social and the political before intersectionality is deployed as a straight-jacketed methodology in research work, mobilization or advocacy. In doing so, the paper argues that intersectionality’s overt focus on state-reform risks depoliticizing queer/feminist politics.

Note on the Author

Debarun Sarkar is a doctoral candidate at the Department of Sociology, University of Mumbai. Email: debarun@outlook.com.