It is Hard Being a Lesbian in India And Media Is Not Helping
Why is it so easy for parents to give up on their kids who they’ve loved all their lives?
Two girls who were in love attempted suicide in Mumbai yesterday and only one of them survived. I read it for the first time in Mid-day, and I found the article distasteful.
The publication not only used the original names of the girls but also published a photo of them on the beach. There was no attempt made to protect the identity of the girls or their families.
Media support has been instrumental in winning a lot of battles for the LGBT community. However, in the recent past, all stories seem to have only one focus, that of increasing circulation.
The dirty game of politics is now not just under the purview of the broadcast media. Newspapers and magazines now thrive on creating news articles that are sensationalist rather than bothering to get to the crux of the issue.
It is hard being a lesbian in India. In countries where the legal system has changed but the society is regressive, the LGBT community still faces a backlash. But, in India the society considers homosexuality a curse from the West and the legal system reflects the views of the society.
In 2011, when we came out of the closet, my wife and I were immediately thrown into a world of uncertainty. We went into hiding not without knowing what legal repercussions we had to face.
We were both financially independent but those first few months were some of the most traumatic in our lives. With no support and the legal system terming us criminals, the only way to leave everything behind was to end our lives or hide and hope that things will change for the better.
When we were hiding we had time to reflect on what changes were in store for our new phase of life.
Looking at the story of the two girls though, I can understand how heartbreaking and humiliating it was for them to go through the endless barrage of accusations and questions from their own family.
Why is it so easy for parents to give up on their kids who they’ve loved all their lives? In the grand scheme of things how important is it to know what happens in the close confines of their bedrooms?
A lot of what happens in households is fuelled by what is shown in the media. The homophobic comments on television, the characters on Indian soaps where the virtuous women acquiesce to all their husbands demands and the vamps who wear bright make up and date multiple men.
The media can shape the future of this country but the media is more focused on short term gain of a few hundred eyeballs than delivering a social message that can change the course of a lot of lives.
(The writer is an Indian lesbian woman, who faced a lot of difficulties when she came out. She eventually moved to the US with her girlfriend and got married to her. Her identity is not disclosed on her request.)
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