The Indian Lesbians, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community is by far the most marginalised. Cultural prejudices apart, the upholding of Section 377, that criminalises homosexual behaviour, by the country's apex court, set the LGBT movement back by decades.
This systemised repression, however, has invited a strong opposition that finds its voice various grassroot movements across the country. The Gaysi Family is one such platform that attempts gather stories of queer struggle in India.
In their latest video, very ironically titled 'Darr / डर - A True Story', brings together some extremely brave voices who share their fears of being a lesbians, gay, bisexual, or a transgender in India. The powerful video puts together some prominent, as well as some not so prominent LGBT activists of India, emulating the trials of a community that most of country isn't even comfortable talking about.
LGBT activist Harish Iyer, also featured in the video, elaborates, "This video is about the man, the woman, the transperson who is in the closets for so long that their silences are deafeningly loud. And, in many cases, it is not even their choice that they are in the closet. It is the wide spread prejudice that put them there."
Dealing with prejudices
On the persistent discrimination in Indian society, Iyer opines, "It stems from patriarchy and our nature of 'othering' everyone who is different. We think the ones who are effeminate, like females, should be subjugated. We think that different is abnormal. That's the mindset."
"It is still girly to cry, manly to be strong," he points out.
Dealing with fear
Asked about the why such a brave initiative was so ironically named, Iyer shares, "We all have our varied fears. But it is just the fear of the person in the mirror that we have overcome. We have to truly love ourselves and are happy in our skin."
And how does one deal with such fear? "By speaking up and speaking for the ones who are invisible; by creating an ecosystem that fosters love and equality," he says. "But being the voice for the voiceless and by being real loud at that," he adds in conclusion.