Three years ago on this day, LGBTQIA+ community celebrated a sense of validation, again after five years. Section 377 was decriminalised, first on 10th July, 2009, but was criminalised again in 2013. However now, after a number of efforts from the community, the section 377 stands decriminalised as a result of a judgement passed on 6th September 2018.
Celebrating three years of the landmark judgement, internationally acclaimed filmmaker Faraz Arif Ansari, who is also an out and proud member part of the community admits to feeling numb. “It’s a coincidence that when the new broke out I was baking a cake, because it’s was my birthday the next day (September 7). There was a wave of joy in the air, everybody was feeling happy. But, alongside feeling happy, there was also a sense of numbness that I felt because this has happened and it past also. The decision happened and then it was taken away. So, the uncertainty of it all was bothering because who knows if it’s going to be stay like this forever or not.”
Being a queer filmmaker, who has made two queer centric short films Sisak and Sheer Qorma, he wants to start a conversation about who is behind the camera and not always in front of it. “People do talk about how we haven’t casted queer people for the movies I made. But, I tired. Most people don’t even try. I auditioned a bunch of people but they didn’t fit the role, I casted the people who did. It’s not about who they identify as. I think the conversation should also be about who is making the queer films, are people behind the camera queer? Who is telling our stories? That’s important.”
However, he expresses concern for the trans community, “Trans people have been out-casted the most. Even within the community itself. If you are filling a role of a transgender person with a cis-het person, it’s not correct,” Ansari says.
Coming out is a big milestone for LGBTQIA+ community, to accept themselves is the first step for living the life as who they are. Ansari had to come out in unfortunate circumstances, when his boyfriend succumbed back in the states and he was stuck in India. “I was in India and my boyfriend was in America. He was no more and I was not there. I wanted to talk about this to my mother, and so I did.”
But, Ansari believes that coming out is a western idea. “I don’t think anybody has to come out, the fact that we exist in this world should be a coming out in itself. Every time a queer person walks into a room, people know who you are. We carry that identity with ourselves everywhere we go,” he adds.
For the betterment of the queer lives, it was just one step and there is a long way to go. “The law has done its job, it us now, as a society, who has to take it further from here and make the change happen. The fight for the equality is still a long-long journey. The community still lacks basic fundamental rights like marriage equality. Every person should be allowed to marry who they love. Living in a democracy, if I am being treated like every other person. I have to pay taxes but I am not allowed to get married? It just doesn’t sit well,” he concludes