India’s film industry – comprising Bollywood and the regional film industry – amasses an audience totalling to 1.2 billion people. Even as cinema has been considered as a powerful medium known to influence and dictate opinions on several social issues, these 1.2 billion people often watch cis-gender actors playing the role of transgender persons. Will such representation further isolate the trans community?
This issue of Outlook looks at the portrayals of trans people in popular culture, mythology and their struggle for inclusion. I wrote Gauri’s story. After 11 years, I see a version of her story that raises important ethical questions. This is for the sake of those uncomfortable questions.
Taali is too much exterior, very little inward looking, too much tell, very little show
Despite a few refreshing narratives, most of Indian mainstream cinema still struggles to portray transgender people with all their human complexities and contradictions
Acts of gendered people are harming and punishing the existence of sexual minorities
If cis-gender actors can play transgender persons on screen, why can’t it be the other way round?
While films about transgender lives are garnering audiences, queer and transgender filmmakers and thespians weigh in on why representation may not always mean inclusion
Transgender people are fighting hard and patiently waiting for their chance to contest elections or get government jobs
Transgender persons continue to face hurdles in gaining access to inheritance, adoption rights, family pension and important legal documents
The mention of trans-people in various mythologies is proof that ancient people had a refined understanding of gender and sexuality
Spaces like Bambai Nazariya in Mumbai and Pride Café in Bengaluru are providing employment opportunities to transgender persons to smash stereotypes
Who gets to play trans roles? And who decides the norms of representation?
Padma Award winner Manjamma Jogathi vows that it is her art that has taken her all the way from a remote village in Karnataka to Rashtrapati Bhavan
Narthaki Nataraj’s performances have gained international acclaim, and she has been bestowed with several awards and honours for her contributions to dance and her role in breaking down gender barriers.
The inability to listen, internalise and empathise marks many Indian movies on marginalised characters and themes. Rituparno Ghosh’s Chitrangada is different—because Ghosh was different
The recent resignation of an economist from Ashoka University following the political backlash to his research paper on manipulation in the 2019 elections raises crucial questions about the state of higher education
Over 50,000 people have been displaced since May 3 due to the ethnic clashes between the Meiteis and the Kuki-Zo communities. Still, there is little hope for reconciliation
One of the most talked about deras in recent times has been the Dera Sacha Sauda of Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, who is convicted in multiple rape and murder cases
Can the creative industry be more aware and informed about the community before collaborating or working along with them? Who else can tell a better story about a community of people than themselves? Can we create an opportunity or space for people from the transgender community who are interested in the arts to be trained by people from the industry? Only time will tell.