India: LGBT activist happy with acceptance from appearing on reality TV show
An LGBT activist in Mumbai has reflected on the positive reaction to a reality television show which featured her living her daily life.
Sonal Giani, a 26-year-old theatre producer, was vocal about being a lesbian in the television show Connected Hum Tum, which she described as a “huge step forward in terms of acceptance of same sex love”.
She said she and her partner were featured during prime time on the TV show.
“Janu and I are the first lesbian couple to be showcased at prime time on national television,” Sonal said.
“So many people, and not just members of the gay community, have written in and called up to say that seeing us go through the typical trials and tribulations of love, has opened their eyes to the fact that sex between two men or two women is not all that different from the love a man and woman feel for each other,” she continued.
Giani said she was pleased that “more and more people have begun to accept us with open arms as they feel for our struggle to be together”.
The show, Connected Hum Tum, is a weekday show, and is hosted by Bollywood actor Abhay Deol. It features six women showcasing their personal lives, and Giani’s response was overwhelming, she said.
A prominent LGBT activist in India Harish Iyer, wrote an open letter to the show’s director Paromita Vohra.
Iyer wrote that he “expected a lot of hungama with some over-the-top, over-powering music and dramatic effects” when it was revealed that Giani is a lesbian. But instead he said he “was pleasantly proven wrong”, as the revelation was made “without any fanfare”.
“It was so casual and so strongly depicted that without spelling anything out, you said everything. And you conveyed the right message to the audience. The message that love is beyond gender. And it didn’t matter whether a man loves a man, or a woman loves a woman – whatever the permutation and combination, the word, the feeling, the emotion that stands out is love,” he continued.