Space showcasing South Asians and others as well as topics we face today!
27 November 2012
Leading the Way
In life we tend to find people whether they are an athlete, an actor, singer, friend, of even a family member who inspires us to do better, and to achieve greatness. When one comes out and is trusted in the world as a new gay man or woman looking at the world with semi rose colored glasses, ready to take the world on head strong. There seems to be a fire in ones heart or a zealous nature to their actions. These newly one will one day possibly be leaders and role models will break down walls that divide us in the gay world. I believe one day we will have more leaders and role models that will lead us far it may be you. For me personally some of my friends are my role models like the incomparable Vikrant Lal¹ and my dear friend and activist Ravi Batra² who to me are breaking walls in the desi gay community here stateside, spreading awareness that "hey, we are here too! We are no longer a quiet group in the gay spectrum, that the media likes to portray. Even though being gay and desi is still in some minds an oxymoron and not readily accepted among all. However, its growing with more strong men and women standing up for themselves and their beliefs. People like Godfather of LGBT right and activism Ashok Roa Kavi, Harish Iyer, Film maker Sridhar Raghayan, first only gay prince Manavendra Singh Gohi, Director Onirban Dhar, actor Parvesh Cheena, and comedian Vidur Kapur. All of them had made some small and large impact on gay rights, awareness and culture as a whole.
Ashok Roa Kavi is considered as the godfather of gay rights and activism in India. Spending over 2 decades spreading awareness to a country that was and sometimes is closed minded. Roa Kavi came out in 1986 in Savvy Magazine the same year his mother Shoba Row Kavi giving an interview to Savvy Magazine expressing her love for her son, first time a mother in India spoke publicly about their gay son. In 1990, Roa Kavi founded the un president gay magazine Bombay Dost India. Back when it was still illegal to be gay many closeted gay men wrote letters and knew the secret spots to find Bombay Dost. Presently, Roa Kavi is the founder and chair person of Humsafar trust, a male sexual health group who aids gay men a d transgender persons and agitates for legal emancipation of homosexuality in India.
Film is a big part of Indian Culture, with the rise of Bollywood, Tollywood, and Hollywood that sort of brings family's together. Dostana was a big commercial success and many anticipate for dostana 2 more chances to see John Abraham shirtless. A few people in the Indian subcontinent and beyond are using film to make a difference to spread awareness about social issues and queer issues. Indian Filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan who creates films will special focus on queer subjects. Films like he Pink Mirror and Yours emotionally have been considered ground breaking because of their realistic and sympathetic portal of the largely closeted Indian gay community. Rangayan's film pink mirror is still banned in India due to its homosexual nature by the the Indian censor board. Another filmmaker is the critically acclaimed Onir with successful hits like My Brother... Nikhil which deals the Goan government harsh treatments of AIDS patients in the 1980's and the stigma attached to them. Groundbreaking for its time, i think a must see. Another film is I Am which depicts four short films exploring themes of child abuse and same sex relationships. I Am became critically acclaimed winning various awards and opening minds about gay life in India.
Many may not remember the short lived comedy Outsourced, about an American call center in the heart of Mumbai. The show consisted of a corky cast from the hot throb to the funny jokester. It always was my first encounter with the lovable actor Parvesh Cheena, some say he is the first openly gay desi actor in America, but we never know. Another American Desi is Vidur Kapur who was recently named one of the top 50 most influential in the LGBT south Asian community. Kapur is an hilarious gay comedian who jokes about growing up in a south Asian household and being south Asian and gay. Kapur not only makes jokes but also brings a light on the growing south Asian gay community, which is needed.
Harish Iyer is a lot like myself, using social media to not only inform, but to bring a positive message to the world. Iyer is a gay and animal rights activist in India. And is sometimes refereed as the social media guru. Iyer has redefined the affect on social media and social change. Spiritual guru Deepak Chopra said "you cannot fight the darkness, you can only bring in the light. If you want the world to change. Think. 'How can i be an example of that?' And be the change. With social media, use it to create change: help people with it, raise money, start a business." I have always felt your influence even in social media can have the same effect as any one of these role models. Using our own platform weather its a blog, or twitter, or Facebook, or even a stage to share our story and influence another. The act of being s role model is not just about fame or fortune but using ourselves to make a difference and change the world. Tell me who do u feel is a role model, it can even be yourself, or a friend or an another celebrity! Thank you for Reading!! ¹For Vikrant Lal story http://www.southasianparent.com/dare/you-are-not-a-gay/ ²For Ravi Batra story