Your Network, Your Community, Your Mix

#LesbianAnthem Gives A Voice to Queer Indians

Queer women in India finally see themselves in this music video.
892 0

Being queer anywhere is far from easy. For example, in India, despite the increasingly liberal young population, many people still hold relatively conservative views. Arranged marriages are common, the caste system has not completely disappeared, and heterosexuality is the presumed norm.

Queer rights activist Malini Jeevarathnam takes a stand against this homophobia with her film, Ladies and Gentlewomen, which documents the lives, deaths and suicide attempts among lesbians in India. The controversial film is bringing India’s queer community to light.

But Jeevarathnam knows that not everyone will want to watch an entire film. And even if they want to, censorship, Internet access and monetary funds can prevent them. Since she wants to spread her message as far as possible, she commissioned a songwriter to write something that captures the essence of Ladies and Gentlewomen, but which can be shared worldwide: a music video titled #LesbianAnthem.

The song follows two lesbian couples in love. The first couple lives in the city – they’re what you could call liberal or modern. The second couple is much more traditional. They’re confined to the rural region of Tamil Nadu, but their traditional surroundings do not prevent them from getting a happy ending.

Jeevaratham was heartbroken when she found out that many Indian lesbians couldn’t relate to traditional pop or Bollywood songs. #LesbianAnthem finally gives them a song that documents their experiences. She enlisted composer Justin Prabhakaran and Kutti Revati, a love poet. Jeevarthnam had only one direction for Revati: “Keep the lyrics simple, uncomplicated and cheerful.”

You never know what will happen to a song like this after you release it to the general public. Macklemore’s Same Love inspired queer people across the United States to come out, comforted by the fact that a mainstream white rapper was affirming their existence, or something. But a 2016 cover of Same Love in Kenya left the creators terrified, facing death threats and eventually forced to flee the country.

So what will the reaction be in India? Only time will tell. In the meantime, check out the song for yourself.

Subscribe to KitschMix's newsletter for more stories you don't want to miss.

Since you’re here …

Like many other media organisations, KitschMix is operating in an incredibly challenging financial climate. More people are reading the KitschMix than ever, but our advertising revenues are falling fast. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. KitschMix is an independent website that takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce, but we do it because we believe women in the LGBTQ community need more positive visibility.

If everyone who reads our articles, who likes them, helps to support them, our future would be much more secure.

Make a contribution

FROM OUR PARTNERS

Author
J. Marie graduated from Duke University with a degree in International Relations and dreams of being a creative writer--dreams she's now realizing as a musical theatre writer in NYC. She's passionate about global black identities, black representation in media, and leather-bound notebooks. She also loves backpacking through a new country at a moment's notice, and speaks Spanish, Swahili and Standard Arabic.

Leave a Reply

sign-up-insert-01