About Beating the Queer-antine Blues

Beating the Queer-antine Blues (BQB) was a week-long national campaign in May 2020 designed to give the Indian queer community the know-how and support needed to navigate through the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Outforce India (Salesforce’s LGBTQ employee resource group), in collaboration with Pride Circle and Suicide Prevention India Foundation (SPIF), took into account the most pressing issues and challenges. We then built relevant conversations around them and worked to create a safe space where the LGBTQ community could connect, find resources, and know we’ve got their back.

We extended this program to our Salesforce India Ohana (family in Hawaiian) but also to the larger Indian queer community. The nationwide campaign included:

  • A series of four webinars
  • A suicide prevention training-cum-certification workshop
  • An LGBTQ friendly helpline
We're also putting our money where our mouth is by driving an internal employee fundraiser at Salesforce to help members of the queer community most affected by the novel coronavirus.

Our hope is that our endeavour will help and heal the LGBTQ community in ways big and small and reassure them that while we may be apart physically, we’re in this together.

Breathe In. Reach Out.
Webinar series addressing loneliness, isolation, and uncertainty

We've all been struggling with loneliness, isolation, and uncertainty during this pandemic. Imagine what it's been like for the LGBTQ community. In this series of four webinars, industry experts and ally voices come forward with advice and support to make it better.

Allyship in a virtual world
(Sun, May 17, 2020)

Dr. Avinash Desousa
Consultant Psychiatrist
and Founder-Trustee

Desousa Foundation
Tina Vinod
Head of Diversity &

ThoughtWorks India

Build support networks to beat isolation and loneliness
(Tue, May 19, 2020)

Shalini Rao
Sameer Ghunakikar
Peer Counsellor

Tackling challenges among the trans community
(Thu, May 21, 2020)

Aryan Somaiya
Clinical Psychologist
Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli
Transgender Human Rights
& RTI Activist

Building foundations for mental well-being
(Sat, May 23, 2020)

Dr. Avinash Desousa
Consultant Psychiatrist &

Desousa Foundation
Queer Rights Advocate
Co-Founder of Bangalore-
based support group

Know Suicide. No Suicide.
Suicide prevention Gatekeeper training

While self-care may be the word du jour, the possibility of self-harm rises during a crisis. It takes sensitivity, sensitization, and a concrete plan of action to be able to intervene and help someone struggling with suicidal thoughts. This training-cum-certification program was designed to help with this. It offered guidance on being able to identify and recognize signs of suicide and highlighted the importance of prompting vulnerable individuals to seek timely and accurate help from mental health professionals.


Nelson Vinod Moses
Founder, Suicide Prevention
India Foundation
Shalini Rao
Counselling Psychologist

The Hope Line
Free, queer-affirmative counselling helpline

The importance of mental health has never been greater than during this pandemic, more especially for the LGBTQ community. Given the insufficient availability of queer-affirmative counsellors and prohibitive mental healthcare costs, Outforce started a free-to-all, 7 day, 6:00 to 10:00 PM helpline, providing a safe space to anyone who needed it. We clocked scores of calls from the queer community and allies from all age groups, from all across the country.

Conversations and concerns that were top of mind during the lockdown included decisions to come out in the face of increasing pressure at home, stricter gender-conforming expectations, financial distress, and of course depression and anxiety stemming from no access to real-world safe spaces and support systems.

In response, Salesforce is currently running an internal fundraiser, the proceeds of which will support an NGO working with the LGBTQ community.

TRANScend: Paying it Forward
Salesforce employee fundraiser to assist the trans community

How does a transgender sex worker, who earns their livelihood through cheap and dangerous sex work with "straight" men, under bridges and in other public spaces after night has fallen, "work from home"?

Social distancing, isolation, and the resulting economic repercussions have made life for the trans community a living nightmare Their livelihoods and to a large extent their very existence depends on physical contact: sex work, benedictions, and begging. Starved of acceptance and inclusion under normal circumstances, at this time they find themselves literally facing starvation.

Believing that humanity must trump judgement at this time (or any other time), Outforce, along with United Way of Hyderabad (a major local nonprofit) and Vyjayanti Vasanta Mogli (transwoman and leading transgender human rights and RTI activist) is driving a fundraising initiative internally amongs Salesforce employees to support members of the Indian trans community.

If you’d like to lend a hand and make a difference, drop us a line at outforceindia@salesforce.com.

Impact Report: The Full Spectrum
Complete lowdown on the BQB programming series

This in-depth report comprehensively captures the intent and the extent of the BQB campaign. You can expect a snapshot of the key challenges experienced by the LGBTQ community brought on by the lockdown, get access to the conversations started by the webinars, as well as get an understanding of the most common issues discussed on the helpline. Presented in an easy-to-comprehend FAQ format, it will serve as an effective toolkit for providing support and assistance be it with regards to understanding mental health, managing loneliness effectively, tackling challenges faced by the trans community, or building overall mental resilience.

The full-and-final report will be available for download shortly.