Hyderabad: When I spoke to my parents about my sexual orientation, they almost disowned me. They never accepted my relationship with my partner,” shares Smruthi Narayan. Her partner Shwetha Pai points out, “It’s not a disease or a mutation and is not even limited to one community or country. The fact that such people can be born anywhere is something that people fail to understand. Everybody plays the blame game. Our parents blame it on westernised education while the others point at the so-called exposure we get.” The couple are among many such in the twin cities where sexual orientation defines their identity. Peer pressure, family issues, internal conflict and discrimination are problems that almost all the members of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community face regularly in the absence of a support system and acceptance.
To sensitise people on this sensitive issue, the US Consulate in association with Wajood, a non-profit organisation for LGBTs in the city, is organising the Rainbow Film Festival later this month. And what better time than July - the pride month for the LGBTs in India - to take up this cause. Four films, Prayers for Bobby, Milk, Stonewall Uprising and Boys Don’t Cry, will be screened over two days at the Annapurna International School of Film and Media to highlight the history of the gay rights movement in the US and show challenges faced by friends, family and members of the LGBT community. At its basic level, the LGBT issue is a human rights issue.
“Though these movies are all Hollywood blockbusters, these are still relevant here and people can relate to the characters as sexual orientation does not pertain to one community. These movies will help one understand how difficult it is to live unaccepted,” explains Jayati Mathur, founder member, Wajood.
Peer pressure, family issues, internal conflict and discrimination are problems that the LGBT members face daily.
The Rainbow Festival is just the first step. The LGBT community is gearing up to hold a queer festival by the end of September and a gay parade by the end of this year in the city. “The event will mark many colourful events, fashion shows, panel discussions, seminars and a lot of stuff. Through this we are aiming at building a support system for the LGBT community in the city,” says Vishal Jaiswal, another founder member of Wajood.
He further explains, “All of us have been through a lot. Some might have had it easy, while others have been kicked out of their houses. We want them to know that Wajood will always be there.” There have been gay parades in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Delhi and even Pune. Vishal believes it is time Hyderabad has one.
Smruthi Narayan is happy the city will shortly have its first ever public event of the LGBT community. “This will show that LGBT exists in Hyderabad,” she opines. The movies will be screened at the Annapurna International School of Film and Media on July 27 and 28, from 5 p.m to 7:15 pm.