Queer community excited about biopic

Queer community excited about biopic

For most people ‘Queen’ is synonymous with the British reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II, but for true blue rock fans, it resonates with ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, ‘We will rock you’, ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ and a number of other hits from the 1970’s rock band ‘Queen’.

It is no wonder that after the official trailer released recently of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, a Queen biopic starring Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, many critics had mixed reviews.

The movie, set to release on November 2, is about the band’s journey from their formation leading up to their legendary appearance at the Live Aid concert in 1985.

The band included guitarist Brian May, drummer Roger Taylor and bass guitarist John Deacon.

Critics have slammed the makers for ignoring Freddie Mercury’s sexuality and also referring to Mercury’s AIDS struggle as a “life-threatening illness”.

Amidst the online chatter, Freddie Mercury’s fans have admired him for his superhuman vocals, his unapologetic portrayal of himself on stage with his bold outfit choices and his ability to influence his audience.

Ardent fans from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community share their thoughts about the trailer of the film.

Sanjay Kumar, 
Psychotherapist and Group Therapy Facilitator

“Growing up in the eighties, awakening to my own sexuality as a gay man,  Freddie’s mysterious and alluring sexuality was very intriguing to me. His death came as a huge shock and instilled fear with regard to the AIDS epidemic. It sent a reminder to not ever come out, as in those days being gay was equated to contracting the virus.”

Alex Mathew, 
Maya the Drag Queen

“Although he couldn’t be open about his sexuality in his life, he was living a larger than life persona on stage. His songs and his work will always be inspiring. After seeing the trailer, I wondered if Hollywood has diversity at all because Rami has an Egyptian heritage while Freddie was Indian. So many movies in the past have the same case of miscasting. I will watch the movie to see if they are true to his life, his struggles with sexuality and HIV and obviously for his music too.”

Anirudh Gupta, Fellow at Teach For India, member of Queer Campus, Bengaluru

“Freddie Mercury is a very important queer icon. He has been a revolutionary figure in rock music in general, and to think that the world rallies behind an openly queer character is very empowering. Whether straight or queer, people who love and respect Queen and Freddie are die-hard supporters of his. With songs like ‘I Want To Break Free’ which has literally become the queer anthem, it’s impossible to imagine a biopic on Freddie Mercury that doesn’t talk about his sexuality. People need to acknowledge Freddie as a bisexual person, and not a gay man.”

Priyank, co-founder Queer Collective India and committee member Queer Asia (London)

“Freddie Mercury has been an everlasting inspiration to many in the fight against equality and especially HIV. Being the first ‘Rock n roll’ star to have died soon after coming out as HIV POSITIVE and living with AIDS, he stood as an example to teach us the importance of one’s right to privacy.” Priyank says that the organisation he co-founded in India (Queer Collective India) has begun working on sensitisation programmes on HIV and other STDs. “Freddie Mercury shall live on just as many Indian queer people and people of mankind that we have lost to this virus, and we continue to place all our hope on to medicine and research to someday find a cure.”

Trinetra Haldar 
GummaraJU, Co-founder of Q&A: The Queer and Ally Network

“Having just watched the trailer of Bohemian Rhapsody, I find myself worried more than anything else. I was introduced to Freddie Mercury by my parents but I only realised that he was Indian and a visible, powerful LGBTQIA+ icon when I looked him up online. Fact remains, that his bisexuality has been erased time and again. We know that neither of these storylines do a reality check which is worrisome because accurate depictions of bisexuality and the progression of HIV/AIDS have often been ignored or misrepresented for entertainment value. I hope that isn’t the case this time.”

Faraz Ansari, 
Director of Sisak

“My parents are big fans of Freddie and wanted me to be born on the 5th of September (the star’s birthday) but I ended up being born on the 7th! Nonetheless, I remember most of my childhood weekends included listening to songs by Queen on loop. Before watching the trailer of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, I was very apprehensive but I don’t think I was disappointed. I just wish they show more of the queerness that Freddie embodied as a performer and an artist.”