This is Harish Iyer, an equal rights activist, who is most popularly known for his campaigns for the rights of the Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender (LGBT) community and Child Sexual Abuse (CSA). For the very first time I heard him speaking at REX Conclave in 2014. It was the silence that suddenly surrounded me. Tears flow within my heart imagining his state of mind and his past. Bold and determined with dimple cheeks took my senses with his heroic speech. It is one of the highly misgiving notions that Sexual Abuse only happens to girls, not to boys. Whereas a 2007 Government of India survey stated that out of the children who were abused, 57% were boys under the age of 18. These are some dirty pictures which is still prevailing in the society. The world need to be all alert about such situations. Sex education in India is still not functioning perfectly which is again a matter of great concern. It’s very important to understand that the mental trauma of child sexual abuse never stops even after the child steps into his adulthood or gets over from the abuse. Schools along with the involvement of parents should work as a large network to prevent Child Sexual Abuse. Again in the words of Harish “the price of silence is violence, the price of keeping quite is riot”. Understanding the phrase it’s a high time for India to wake and learn to say STOP as well as teach to say ‘No’ before the tide comes and took away the lives of the innocence.
Harish was featured at Aamir Khan’s show Satyamev Jayate in an episode on the issue of child sexual abuse. In the show, he gave a frank and detailed account of his horrific experiences of childhood sexual abuse. Prior to SatyamevJayate, he was seen in the panel of NDTV’s popular talk show We The People, which is anchored by Barkha Dutt, and in Richa Anirudh’s Hindi talk show Zindagi Live. British actor Stephen Fry elatedly tweeted “You’re a hell of a guy!” after interviewing Harish for his BBC-2 documentary “OUT THERE”. In 2016, Iyer and his family starred with Ellen Page in her web series Gaycation.
Another chapter of Harish`s life that attracted me to know more about him is that Harish is a homosexual who has been fighting long for the cause of establishing LGBT rights in India. It took some time for Harish to discover the fact that he is not a hetero-sexual, rather a homosexual. When he arrived at the understanding of his sexuality, he decided not to be silent. He affirmed to himself that he is a gay, not because of any past reasons or a dark story behind the curtains, but simply because of who he is.
Harish’s mom took the most outstanding and courageous step by posting India’s first gay marriage advertisement to seek groom for her son. This matrimonial advertisement was initially been rejected by a number of newspapers. Hindustan Times, DNA and The Times of India were also among those. However, it was Mid-Day who published the ad. Their editor Sachin Kalbag, explained their decision by saying that “Marriage is all about love, compassion, and companionship. If Harish Iyer, through this ad, is able to find an ideal partner who would be able to give him all of this, that would be one heck of a union”.
But what after Harish gets his Mr Perfect? Will the merciless section 377 will abide homosexual marriage in India? Homosexuality India is evident in which has an ancient history; and in the current era where there is growing acceptance of the idea that LGBTs (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered) must be allowed to live in dignity and respect, it is shame that India cannot bring itself to legalize gay behavior. The stereotype Indian constitution is yet to change its mindset. Love is all about human experience, not political statement. And if our constitution speaks about equal rights and freedom to speech and expression, it need to be an absolute statement, not simply a noise in the air.
“As a survivor of sexual abuse for the longest part of my childhood and whose only comfort and support was a non-human creature – a dog – I understand and relate to animals very closely. It breaks my heart every time I see an animal treated with indifference and cruelty. For all the unconditional affection I have received from my four-legged companion during those tumultuous years, I feel this is my way of giving back to my late dog, who stood for humanity.”
“My mother is like any other mother, she wanted to find me a partner and help me settle down. It became news only because I was looking for a man instead of a woman.”
“I am not among the serious bra-burning chest beating activists. I’m more quirky in my approach. I use social media to stir movements and create awareness on varied issues. And what more… mmmm… From pados wali Gupta aunty to pan tapiri wala Tukaram bhau , from party babe Anju to jhaadu-katka wali gangubai… I am out to everyone. (Show me one person who doesn’t know my sexuality and I shall lose my virginity (again) to you) Shotti!”
“I love babaji. I find him cute and handsome.I am a lowly creature. He is a mahapurush.A discussion can happen if he and I are in the same level.I think I am too tall to stoop down to his level.I think groups like gaysi should stop victimizing my cute babaji.We instead need to strive to find some yoga aasan that will cure him of homophobia.”- in response to Baba Ramdev’s objection against legalizing homosexuality and drinking of alcohol stating this will be result in India producing – Gay & Drunk Youths.
“True Mumbaikars respect everybody. And those who do not show respect are not true Mumbaikars. I could be anybody. Cross-dresser, Transgender, Brother-sexual (Homosexual). Here, there is space for everybody. This is our pride, Mumbai`s pride.”
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