These are perhaps the most powerful mediums in the world that can influence like no other.
Through these, society can be educated, discrimination can be eradicated and positive social change made into reality.
Sadly, there is still much discrimination towards LGBTQIA (Lesbian; Gay; Bisexual; Transgender; Queer; Intersex; Asexual) persons throughout the world and not just in India where being something other than “straight” is criticised and furthermore, homosexuality is now a crime.
However, the journey towards LGBTQI human rights continues to progress despite the challenges.
May is a big month for celebrating and inspiring hope through both films and literature as the biggest gay and lesbian film festival in India, the KASHISH Mumbai International Queer Film Festival kicks off on the 21st of May – 25th of May 2014.
KASHISH was founded by Sridhar Rangayan, a courageous and inspirational activist and film maker.
In its 5th edition, the festival is in collaboration with a number of organisations including Queer Ink, India’s only Publisher of LGBT specific resources.
An online retailer specialising in books exploring sexuality and gender, Queer Ink launched in 2010 and provides important resources and insight on LGBT lives in India. Queer Ink will showcase books, DVD’s and Pride merchandise during KASHISH 2014 with special discounts for KASHISH delegates from the 22nd- 25th.
What is especially exciting about KASHISH is that it is the only Queer film festival in India to be held at a mainstream venue.
The location of Mumbai’s Liberty Cinema, Marine Lines highlights that being LGBTQI is a part of society and not “separate”.
This encourages that Queer cinema should be watched by everyone, rather than just the LGBTQI community and perhaps this is the only way that LGBTQI persons will be understood and accepted; hence, social change made possible.
This point was also suggested by a prominent Bollywood actress.
It was recently reported that Bollywood star Sonam Kapoor spoke up on the much needed representation of gay lives through mainstream Bollywood productions:
“I think movies can influence the way people think sometimes and if we do start making love stories or we start making movies about people who are amazing human beings, people who have done something in life, people who are inspirational who aren’t necessarily only straight, I think people will start appreciating them more,”
Kapoor encouraged films as a way forward:
“So yeah, I think we need to expose India a little bit more so we should make more movies about them.”
The theme of this year’s KASHISH is appropriately titled Dare to Dream, through which the festival will highlight and celebrate persons and communities that have progressed towards making LGBTQ rights more of a possibility.
Speaking up for Gay rights is not easy.
However, speaking up for gay rights is important.
Films and literature can combat hate and ignorance, something that both KASHISH and Queer Ink have courageously been doing throughout past years.
KASHISH will kick off with “Out in the Dark”, a film co-written and Directed by Michael Mayer, and will close with not only a number of film screenings, but also an award ceremony.
Check out the entire KASHISH schedule here: