Homophobia is still part of our cultural fibre: Celina Jaitly

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Mumbai: Actress and social activist Celina Jaitly recently appeared in a short film titled “Seasons Greetings: A Tribute To Rituparno Ghosh”. She said that although on one hand the educated society — especially the younger generation — is becoming acceptive towards the LGBTQ+ community, such societal change is tough to happen unless the sheer ignorance about the community goes away.

The short film addresses the issue of social acceptance of the LGBTQ+ community and the film is a tribute to National award-winning director, late Rituparno Ghosh.

Being a United Nations Equality Champions, Celina told IANS: “There is still a lack of understanding about the LGBT community. The biggest block is that in India society is not ready to educate themselves about homosexuality and its acceptance on any level. Reasons could be anything from religious to sheer ignorance.”

She added: “(Even though times are changing and we are becoming more accepting of gays and lesbians), homophobia and negativity are still part of our cultural fibre. Even if people don’t think they’re homophobic, or even if they have gay friends, they still grew up with all the messages and stereotypes about gays and lesbians. Overall the fact of the matter is India is way behind in all levels when it comes to “acceptance” of sexual minorities.”

The short is directed by Ram Kamal Mukherjee and it features Shree Ghatak, Lillette Dubey, and Azhar Khan among others.

Celina belives: ” ‘Season’s Greetings’ definitely has the ability to stir a need for those difficult but necessary conversations in its own subtle way. Our film is also the first Indian film to cast a transgender actor in a mainstream film/role.”

The actress has been actively participating in creating awareness about the community through various UN programme since 2013.

Asked if general attitude has changed since then, Celina said: “Changing attitudes is never easy but it has happened on other issues and it is happening already in many parts of the world on this one. It begins with often difficult conversations. I am convinced that the best way to have this difficult conversation is through a medium most relatable to people. I truly believe there is nothing more powerful than the medium of cinema. Many heroes would still remain unsung if their story hadn’t been told through cinema.”

“Season’s Greetings” is streaming on the OTT platform ZEE5.