Netflix’s renowned show Sex Education released in the year 2019. It not only spread sexual awareness among teenagers but also promoted same-sex relationships, by showing more inclusiveness and positivity. 

A gay man and a straight man can be friends. A same-sex relationship is like a straight relationship. Lesbian relationships are not just about sex! 

Schools in West Bengal are going to witness something amazing after they reopen in the state.

The Screening

Gay men at The Friendship Walk: India's first pride walk. Kolkata, 1999
Gay men at The Friendship Walk: India’s first pride walk. Kolkata, 1999

Prayasam, a partner organisation of UNICEF, took the much-needed initiative to show 8 films, depicting LGBTQ+ relationships, in order to promote inclusiveness in the youth. 

West Bengal and her capital Kolkata has performed well when it comes to awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community. The first pride parade in India took place in Kolkata on the 2nd of July, 1999.

It was organised by the Kolkata Rainbow Pride Festival (KRPF) and the walk was called “The Friendship walk”. Through the years, the members in the parade grew from hundreds to thousands. Today, Kolkata proudly stands as one of the most inclusive cities for LGBT communities.

If this idea of not othering those who do not conform to the socially acceptable norms starts developing among the youth itself, then the entire abstract structure of socially acceptable norms are susceptible to change. Classism, racism, sexism, communalism will cease to exist. 

As soon as the schools in West Bengal reopen, 8 films shortlisted for Prayasam’s Bad and Beautiful World Film Festival, will be screened at them. 

The young makers – Salim Shekh, Manish Chowdhury, Saptarshi Ray, Salim Shekh and Avijit Marjit — hail from Dakhindari, Mahishbathan, Nazrul Pally. They are students of Prasayam Visual Basics-Asia’s only grassroots film studio that is supported by Adobe.

The main objective of the screenings is to promote inclusive education so that LGBTQ youth do not feel isolated or unwanted. The films will be screened at several schools after they reopen,” said Prayasam’s director Prasanta Roy.

Also Read: New Training Manual For Teachers By NCERT Explains Gender Identity And LGBTQ+ Labels

The Films

A still from the movie Funny Boy, directed by Deepa Mehta
A still from the movie Funny Boy, directed by Deepa Mehta

The movies which are going to be screened at the Bad and Beautiful World Film Festival are

  • Dwitiyo Purush (Second Person) directed by Salim Shekh,
  • Dhora Pore Gechi Aami (Gotcha) directed by Manish Chowdhury,
  • Dutto (Offering) directed by Manish Chowdhury,
  • Deya Neya (Quid Pro Quo) directed by Manish Chowdhury,
  • Durbin (Binoculars) directed by Saptarshi Ray,
  • Dekha (Perceive) directed by Salim Shekh,
  • Dakkhina (Alms) directed by Salim Shekh,
  • DumbBell directed by Avijit Marjit

Twenty-three years old Salim Shaikh, director of Dekha, Dakkhina, Dwitiyo Purush, said that some of his friends work as “male escorts”, who he says is very important to him. He believes that it is extremely crucial for them to not lose their self-esteem.

He stated that he wants to keep his words and choices in front of society through these films. In the short film ‘Telescope’ or ‘Durbin,’ a journalist tells his live-in partner how he discovered his father was gay after his death.

Many actors refused to accept the role after listening to the storyline, according to director Saptarshi Ray, who believes it is essential to display them to the public.

On the other hand, the class divide is explored in the context of a blossoming relationship between a man and a food delivery guy in ‘Deya Neya.’ “In just over 15 minutes, I have tried to explore how socio-economic hurdles pose as greater problems for the thriving of such relationships,” said its 24-year-old director Manish Chowdhury.

These films are set to premiere on the 3rd of December at the 8th Bad and Beautiful Film Festival at Kalanjali Art Space.

The Walk

A flag of Pride at a Pride Walk
A flag of Pride at a Pride Walk

Won’t it be ideal if we are able to express ourselves better? Being able to say no. Not having to apologise after saying the right thing. Having the courage to express our sexual preference.

While some hope, others take the step. Who knows, perhaps this initiative will encourage students to not be scared to be homosexual anymore. Perhaps they won’t be isolated anymore. Perhaps after a few decades, a homosexual couple kissing on the pavement won’t make us stop and stare. Perhaps this will be normalised.

Till then, we walk towards what’s right. Not what’s socially acceptable, but that which is right. This is our walk of pride.

Image Sources: Google Images

Sources: Times of India, The Hindu, News Republic India

Connect with the Blogger: Debanjan Dasgupta

This post is tagged under: gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual, lgbtq, pride, school, education, Kolkata, Kolkata Rainbow Pride Festival, KRPF, The Friendship Walk, homosexual, straight, preference, orientation, sexual orientation, film, film festival, Bad and Beautiful Film Festival, UNICEF, youth, relationship, west bengal, movies, cinema

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