Changing Homophobic Attitudes in India

A recent State of the Nation 2009 CNN-IBN survey revealed quite a homophobic India. As many as 73% Indians feel homosexuality should be considered illegal while 83% felt that homosexuality is not part of Indian culture and 90% of Indians won’t give their house on rent to a gay or lesbian couple.

Watch the survey results here:

Gautam Bhan quite positively reflects that attitudes cannot be freeze-framed because they keep changing. Five years ago, he wouldn’t even be allowed to give his opinion on that platform. So some progress is definitely evident.

In light of these changing attitudes, Hindustan Times (Times Nows) is taking the lead on opening minds in advertisements which literally hits homophobia on the head. One of them goes like this: two friends are sitting in a cafe when one of them spots a gay male couple holding hands and nudges his friend, making fun of them. The friend rolls up the newspaper and hits him on the head instead. And he shuts up. It’s simply a short and sweet ad spot from Times Now about making a difference and recruiting a younger audience.Video here.

Alas, the message hasn’t reached the vernacular presses yet. Times Now–an English channel–probably has a better reach in the urban and metropolitan areas, where attitudes towards homosexuality are more likely to be liberal. But, it is the most watched English channel in India and for Times Now to take this step forward speaks volumes for the progress queers are making in India.

It’s the small steps that build a movement.

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