Video Editor: Puneet Bhatia
One of the biggest Youtubers in India with 17 million subscribers, Carryminati has landed himself in trouble with his latest video, which was a roast on TikTok, and people using that platform.
With over 70 million views, the video was quick to become the most liked non-musical Indian YouTube video. While the roast was about TikTok Vs YouTube, it took jibes at the queer community under the garb of critiquing TikTokers by using terms such as meetha, and chhakka. This didn’t go well with the queer community.
The video was widely reported by the community with many people calling out the queerphobic slurs used by Carryminati. On 14 March 2020 the video was taken down by YouTube as it went against its policy of bullying and harassment. After which, a Twitter storm erupted, demanding justice for Carryminati and banning TikTok, clearly missing the point. Queer Rights Activist, Rishi Raj Vyas has been vocal about this issue of the spread of homophobia and the impact on queer life. Here’s what he has to say about it.
‘Act Responsibly, Don’t Empower Homophobia’
One of the most famous and problematic dialogues of this video was “mithai ki dukan mein le jaunga toh 200 mein bik jayega”.
“Now I really don't understand how people find this funny because this is not only dehumanising but degrading the value of a queer person's life. Clearly, these creators don't understand the high rates of suicide which prevail amongst the queer community or the high rates of self-harm and self-destructive tendencies. That's why they come out with such derogatory language and derogatory terms for queer people. These content creators don't realise that they have a certain degree of responsibility towards society. When they say such queerphobic things or when they say such queerphobic language to people who actually idolise them, they pick up such language and use it to bully other queer people.”
Vyas said it’s a problem when average cisgender, heterosexual people watch such videos with problematic content, further normalising homophobia.
“These ideas and words instill and keep on re-instilling the fact that the queer community is a nuisance or it's something we should deal with or it's something which is unnatural or it's something that pollutes the society. And people pick that up and they use it to justify their homophobia. So it's basically empowering homophobia in a non-direct way. Or at times it is direct as well,” he added.
‘Homophobic Slurs Have Real-Time Effects’
"...I posted a few pictures of mine on Facebook, showing my journey as a queer person. Pictures of me when I was in the closet when I was out and proud and when I was liberated. And the final one was in a saree. A lot of people in the comments used the 'mithai ki dukan' reference to bully me and to harass me. And it was evident that they learned a lot of things from these queerphobic videos. Not only carryminati, but there are also other creators as well,” Vyas says.
He says YouTubers like Lakshay Chaudhary take these queerphobic slurs to “another level.”
(Lakshay Chaudhary has made his similar roast video, private on YouTube after Carryminati’s video was taken down)
“These videos are a symbol of harassment and bullying for us, the queer people. It deeply triggers the assault victims, the bullying victims. People who have gone through corrective rapes and other things. Every other queer person is denied their basic dignity or access to basic rights for example, trans people. It's still very difficult to get a job. But, on the other hand these video creators won't talk about that. They won't talk about queer suicides they won't talk about bullying or harassment. They will just talk about how funny it is for men to express themselves like women. Because they have created such notions of what being a man is and what being a woman is,” Vyas adds.
“Our identity, and our community is not a thing to joke about. We are not here to become your entertainment. We struggle every day to survive. Our existence is revolutionary and this revolution is not going to stop.”Rishi Vyas
Carryminati AKA Ajay Nagar put out a public statement but did not mention anything about bullying and harassment allegations.
India's leading LGBTQ e-magazine, Gaylaxy Magazine has started a petition to stop this cyber bullying.
If you believe that such videos are doing damage to LGBTQ individuals and want YouTube India to hold gender sensitisation workshops for all its top content creators to educate and sensitise them about SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) issues, SIGN THE PETITION.