Indian night talk show changes people's view of LGBT people

By |
October 21, 2014

In India, the Sunday night talk show hosted by Indian actor Aamir Khan hit a record number of viewers (129.6 million). The show covered the LGBT people and their stories.

The guests were a broad representation of the LGBT community in India. One guest was transgender woman Gazal Dhaliwal and her parents, who along with their community accepted who Gazal truly is and support her fully in her journey. Another guest was Deepak Kashyap, a gay man once thinking of committing suicide. Another was an openly lesbian women Divya, who was earlier in her life pressured by her family to marry and consequently suffered depression and suicidal thoughts. After coming out to her husband and her in-laws she found out that they were loving and understanding, unfortunately unlike her own family. There were also psychologists invited into the talk show, stressing the importance of parental support in the coming out process. A doctor who made it clear that being gay is not a disease and cannot be cured and also two lawyers who explained the origins of the Indian anti-gay law.

The show had a massive impact and changed number of minds of people regarding gays. The hashtag #FreedomForLGBT became the most common post on Twitter - globally. More than 1.7 million people called in the show's hotline to protest against the anti-gay laws.

In India, LGBT people are neglected and often abused by their own families. Last year India recriminalized gay relationships and after a short period of grace, LGBT community is again treated inhumanly and with no respect. In 2009 the law was dismissed by the Delhi High Court, however in 2013 the Supreme Court of India passed the law back into practice arguing that Indian society is not ready for the law to be repealed. The law is often misused and abused by the police and the authorities. The Supreme Court decision raised a wave of opposition from every corner of the society. The majority of the government as well as the media and general public disapprove and fight back, organizing protests in the streets and through the social media.