India: First LGBT community radio station launched to ‘create awareness and acceptance’ in the country
The first ever LGBT community radio station has been launched in Bangalore, India which aims to “create awareness and acceptance about alternate sexualities” and to “bridge the gap” between various sexualities in the country.
Qradio is an online radio station that voices the advocacy, activism and lifestyles of India’s two million strong LGBT community.
Anil Srivatsa, CEO and cofounder of Radiowalla.in, said she was inspired to launch the service after realising that while there are several non-government organisations and support groups for the gay community in India, what it lacks is a mainstream media platform.
She told DNA India: “This is a platform that brings together all the LGBT groups together, as well as a space that would create awareness and acceptance about alternate sexuality, and sensitise non-LGBT people to it and bridge the gap between various sexualities.”
Apart from music, the first week, starting Wednesday, will mainly consist of three shows. These include the coming out stories of LGBT people in “HQO: Celebrating gender fluidity with Vaishalli,” a counselling service in “Heart to Heart with Inner sight,” and a general topics show called “LGBT (Let’s Get Beyond Ties) with John and Sandy.”
Sunny Ahuja, general manager in charge of programming and operations, said: “The LGBT population in India stands at two million. Yet they hardly find any mainstream acknowledgment. So, our programmes are mainly documentary features. We’ll have more talk, less music.”
Although programmes will only be aired in both English and Hindi at launch, further regional languages are also being worked on.
Recently, the first ever gay candidate for general secretary at one of India’s leading universities called attention to LGBT discrimination on campus, including an incident where he was denied hostel accommodation because he was deemed too “effeminate.”
Also earlier this month, in a letter to LGBT activist groups in India, the Archbishop of Mumbai has said he would advise priests to be more sensitive while referring to gay people in public sermons, affirming “to say those with other sexual orientations are sinners is wrong.”