Indian Society: Out of the Closet and on a New High
Times, December 27, 2003 (excerpt)
By Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi—It’s been an out of
the closet experience.
Indian society dealt with alternate sexuality, or at
least tried to, through clichés and caution, as homosexual characters and
references entered serials, music videos and even the year’s biggest
Spurred by the homosexuality debates on television and
major newspapers—all lambasting the draconian and ancient law that calls
same gender sexual activity criminal—popular soaps and songs picked up what
they perhaps thought was the thread of political correctness.
Bustier boasting, tattoo-toting hip-hop dance girls
gyrate in bejewelled composer Bappi Lahiri’s remix hit Gori Hai Kalaiyan,
and fashion designer Maddy, played by Rajesh Khera in Sony TV’s Jassi Jaissi
Koi Nahin, is the first gay character in Indian television history.
And in Karan Johar’s mega hit Kal Ho Naa Ho, a maid
thinks that the affections between characters played by Shah Rukh Khan and
Saif Ali Khan are definitely amorous.
“Deal with it, that’s what the media is slowly trying
to sink into the audience,” said puppeteer and gay rights activist Varun
“You cannot ignore alternate sexuality, it is as normal
as anything else, so it’s high time we accepted gays and lesbians and see
them just as ‘normal’ as any,” he added.
The appearance of Maddy even egged a debate on why so
many fashion designers were homosexuals—if the profession demanded it!
“That is, of course, absurd. Does anyone ever ask why
so many heterosexuals are doctors? Does the profession demand it?” laughed
couturier Rohit Bal. “It just does not connect.” . . .
[The rest is about other topics.]
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