Chennai: Tributes poured in on social media for Dr Shankar Ganesan, one of the earliest openly queer academics in this part of the country, who passed away Wednesday at his quarters in the VIT, Chennai campus, where he taught at the Business School.
He was 50.
The genius of a guru for many, not just in the LGBTIQA+ community but so many others in different walks of life, particularly students and youth, Dr Shankar was “part of so many of our queer spaces in Chennai — the reading group Quilt, film review group, peer-facilitated support group meetings, Pride planning meetings of Sahodaran, playback theatre, of sensitisation programmes with Nirangal, Sahodaran and Orinam, research studies, etc.”, said Orinam, a Chennai-based LGBTQIA+ bilingual resource group, mourning the sudden death of Dr Shankar.
“He was able to sensitise many people from his professional circles - university, management and social work associations, etc. on LGBTIQA+ issues. He wore both ‘queer’ and ‘ace’ labels unhesitatingly and with quiet dignity”, said activist Srijith Sundaram, adding that he was “a huge source of support to many people, including some young queer people who with his support have managed to cope with traumatic experiences of ragging/bullying in their schools and colleges”.
Among the many caps that Dr Shankar had worn was being a life member of the Professional Social Workers’ Association (PSWA), besides being a theatre person. “Dr Shankar Ganesan was a great human being. He helped so many. Such a positive person.
Role model for professors, friend in need, writer, academician, scholar, singer, artist a blessing for the Tamil +LGBTQIA communities”, said Gopi Shankar in his FB post. Gopi is the Madurai ILGA Asia’s Intersex Representative.
He also said Dr Shankar had helped several queer students-giving them confidence and even accommodating transpersons disowned by families until they found their feet....