Section 377 needed to go

Director Saad Khan talks about the need to treat the LGBTQ community with dignity and respect

Saad Khan

The news of Section 377 being scrapped has come as a reaffirmation of hope and positive times ahead.

It was during pre-university that I made a friend who was gay. We used to do Mad Ads. The student was a bharathanatyam dancer and he was open about his sexuality.

We were in the same group of friends and he was the perfect candidate to play both male and female characters in Mad Ads. Myths about how gay people can convert other people into homosexuals were cleared right then.  

Years later, I remember another gay friend of mine saying, “It’s not like the moment I start saying I am a regular guy; I am a normal person to the outside world and they will start accepting me as normal.”

The fact remains that when heterosexuals do not go out claiming that they are normal, why should anyone else? 

The same friend took my friends and me to a gay bar, during my stint in New York. I didn’t know it was a gay club, everything seemed normal to me. It was only after 30 minutes or so that I even realised that same-sex couples were coming in. Nothing irregular happened and no one made a pass at me. The whole experience was a good eye-opener for me. In fact, it was so comfortable and fun that we spent the entire night there and didn’t do pub-hopping. 

Years later, my film ‘Humble Politician Nograj’ had the character of a gay politician in it.

There were some members of the community who shared feedback that they were disturbed by some scenes in the film.

There is a scene in which Nograj looks like he is confused while talking to the other politician but it was not a representation of homophobia. 

I remember asking the members of the community if they saw the entire film and they immediately said ‘no’. I politely asked them to watch it again as the film moves on to show how the two politicians become allies. I cleared the air that way.

I have many gay friends and none of them thankfully took any offence to the film. 

I feel lucky to have met many from the LGBTQ community over the years. I know a lesbian couple who have been living together and have also adopted a child. I was intrigued and remember asking them a lot of questions. To see such love, commitment and goodness among two individuals was such a blessing.   

A lot of people are gender sensitive these days and it’s a good thing. The subject and the community need to be treated with normally. Dialogues and debates can happen about sexuality but it’s often the small acts that go a long way.

Let’s all respect each other as we are and that is when we will be able to call the country as one with ‘unity in diversity’. We are slowly getting there and I see a rainbow of hope.

Saad Khan

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