India’s Most Influential Gays and Lesbians: HARISH IYER
What is it like to be in the spotlight all the time? Don’t you crave for time alone when you are travelling home all drained out at the end of the day?
I cannot curse the light when I am blessed to have it shine on me. I would be lying if I say that I don’t like the attention that I get. But the truth is that at times it does get a little too much to handle. Sometimes I feel the need to cozy up in the arms of someone and let my silence be eloquent. But when you agree to be in the spotlight you need to understand that there is a switch too and that the fuse could go off anytime.
Can you tell us your most magical moment with Amir Khan/Sridevi which the TV audience of Satyameva Jayate never got to see?
Hmmm, nice question (Smiles). There were moments where it seemed Aamir needed someone to console him. He wept copious tears. We shot that episode for one whole day, but the TV audience just got to see 100 odd minutes. Sridevi hugged me, that wasn’t shown. She and I spoke in Tamil with each other.
What is your opinion about the child sexual abuse bill which was passed recently?
The procedures that a survivor of CSA has to go through in the police stations have to be examined. The law victimizes the victim even more. It is almost like a repeat of that awful incident. The fact that the law prescribes detailed procedures on how to deal with child survivors of child sexual abuse is very heartening. Still, it is not about the law but the implementation of it.
What advice would you like to give gay men who have been abused in the past and now have issues about commitment?
We are all seeking our own healing. There is no “one size fits all” formula. Many children who have been sexually abused grow up and think that they are gay because of abuse. I tell them that no one becomes gay, they are either gay or they are not. Every woman who is abused by a man in childhood doesn’t think that she is straight because she was abused.
How do you advocate the gay cause?
I hate agendas. My activism is as quirky and abrupt as the character of Geet in the Hindi movie “Jab We Met”. I come out to someone who asks me if I am married and tweet about it even at the risk of being called an “attention whore”. I recently delivered a lecture on advertising to a bunch of students of MBA and I showed them some anti-homophobia videos. One of the students asked me “why are you showing us videos of these gays?”. I replied “because the next few videos will be of those straights”. I added, “Just as heterosexuality is normal, homosexuality is too… and by the way, I am gay! Does that make any difference to my taking this class?” To this there was a pin-drop silence, and then came a thunder of applause.