Ad ID: 309
Added: August 20, 2021
Location: United Kingdom
It was a Saturday afternoon. I got a ping on Instagram from a girl I had met once in my college. She wanted to learn from me about how to approach international MBA admissions. I gave her a call & talked to her for 20 mins. I discussed with her, what strategies she can take. I was telling her about how colleges look for diverse candidates & I mentioned to her that how women & LGBTQ community gets support at business schools. She listened to me talking for about 5 min. Then suddenly asked me a question: Hey, what is this LGBTQ? It was surprising to know that she doesn’t know this term, still, I was feeling like an educator that day. I elaborated LGBTQ stands for Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Queer. She just burst into laughter as if I have cracked the biggest joke of the century! Her long laugh was a reflection of how LGBTQ has been served as comic relief in popular media to this date in this country. It was reflection of the belief that this country takes towards the community in general. I just felt like hanging up the phone immediately on her face but then realized: Her long laugh was a reflection of how most ‘educated’ Indian youth behave towards LGBTQ.
We have been subjected to casual homophobic jokes throughout our lives through popular films. Such films drive the biggest box office collections and are termed as ‘roll on floor laughing’ entertainment. The most cult of the lot ‘Dostana’ is still celebrated as a film that box office like crazy. Today, on popular video streaming platforms, we can see contect creators using homophobia to drive eyeballs. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself?
What is the easiest way to grab eyeballs ? A guy dressed up as a girl. Such videos goes viral immediately.
Youtuber Carryminati made millions of subscribers out of casual Homophobia and his video was later deleted by Youtube. The video was one of the most liked video on Youtube before it was deleted.
The video was reported by several users because it was aimed to attack other content creators using homophobic slurs such as Meetha (meaning ‘sweet’ but used as an insult, citing lack of ‘masculinity’) and Pari (meaning ‘Fairy’, used to misgender). Further, Ajey says that TikTok creators can be sold at a Meethai ki Dukaan (sweet shop) for ₹200, referring to the homophobic slur Meetha. Throughout the video, he resorts to the common homophobic practice of misgendering by addressing the creator as Beti (daughter). At one point, Ajey threatens him with a sexual crime saying, andar se khol ke bajaa denge (I will rip you open and f*ck you).
Well, this story is not just about the ‘adult’ Indians. It is something very prevelant in schools. Here are some of the observations from a study conducted in schools of Tamil Nadu regarding Bullying & Gender fluidity:
Reference/Source: Be a buddy, not a bully, UNESDOC Digital Library
As the world celebrates ‘Pride Week’ & many Indian corporates changes their logos on social media to rainbow colors, the reality for LGBTQ is far from rosy. The picture is extremely bleak.
Many students face harassment and bullying, and to avoid humiliation and violence they often skip classes or drop out of school altogether. Most teachers are not trained or empowered to respond to anti-LGBT bullying, so in many cases, they don’t. In some cases, they even participate in the harassment.
There is an urgent need to bring structural changes to the educational curriculum by lawmakers & inculcate the importance of gender fluidity.
There is some movement in the positive direction. Films like ‘Geeli Puchi’, ‘Ek Ladki ko dekha to aisa laga’, ‘Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhaan’ are far from how Indian cinema has generally tackled gender fluidity. The courts in India have been giving some very positive verdicts in various cases. Still, its a long way to go. Its a long way before we grow into a much more tolerant & inclusive society.