Being gay in India is like living in a war zone every day. Homosexual people have more nicknames than your college crush. But why do the LGBTQIA+ folx need to fight a tough battle every single day? Why doesn’t the LGBTQIA+ community get the same opportunities that cishet people get? In a heart-to-heart with host Bani G. Anand, queer activist, dancer, model, and artist Anwesh Sahoo talks about all this and more, including the horrifying bullying he faced in school and college.
“He held my waist and started humping me”
Despite living in a country that celebrates diversity, being different is taboo here. To be a queer teen in India is a struggle no cishet adult can imagine. Kids in school get meaner by the year and bullying of anyone who is gay, or any boy who is even a little effeminate, is intense, to say the least.
Unfortunately, nobody realises the tragic consequences that homophobia brings. When you tell a gay kid, ‘You don’t deserve to live’ or ‘The world will be better off with you dead’, there are some far-reaching consequences that nobody thinks about. Touching them inappropriately, humping them, and asking absurd questions don’t help either. All a bully leaves them with is trauma that can’t be erased.
“Why do you put on this act?”
Bollywood is known for using homosexual people as caricatures and the butt of all jokes. If not that, a gay person is either villainised or treated as a sex maniac. Not to mention the stereotypical effeminate gay man. Sure, there are femme gay men out there and they deserve their representation, but not as a mockery. Femme-erasure is going to cause more harm than good for all men, as Anwesh points out. People have a problem with men dressing up a certain way. When a heterosexual man like Ranveer Singh dresses up in a feminine manner, he is lauded and called brave. At the same time, if a femme gay man dresses up the way he wants, he is called obnoxious and ugly. But why should someone stop being themselves? If it makes you uncomfortable, that’s your problem, not theirs. Look away.
In a world where homophobia, bullying of the LGBTQIA+ community, and harmful stereotypes thrive, Anwesh Sahoo owns his identity like a BOSS! But that journey wasn’t easy.
Watch Anwesh’s journey in the second episode of AfterHours with All About Eve.
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