Sushant Divgikar, a well known face in India and a role model for the LGBTQ community, with his best mate Norden, took over FSOG’s social media feed for a day on the 6th of June. We asked our followers to send in questions for them to answer and here’s what went down:
Q. Why did you choose to be a part of FSOG?
A. The reason I chose to be a part of FSOG is because it’s important that people who are openly gay come out and talk about their stories so other queer folks are motivated to be themselves and are unapologetic for who they are.
Q. What is the single biggest challenge LGBT folks face in India?
A. I’d say our biggest challenge is that we aren’t united within our own community- we tag and label each other- which doesn’t help our cause at all. We have to stand united and not discriminate against anyone, irrespective of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
Q. How do you see the legislation of India changing in the next 5 years?
A. I don’t think the legislation will change too much. Although I really hope it does. But realistically speaking , I don’t think it will. It’s the mindsets we have to change first.
Q. As a role model for the Indian LGBT community, how have you used your time to help the cause?
A. Well I am actively involved with nearly all the LGBT events that take place from pride marches to rallies to cultural festivals organised for the community. I have also taken the responsibility of being the National Producer of Mr Gay World India which I had won earlier in 2014. My parents are also actively involved and motivate other parents to accept and love their LGBT children. They believe every child regardless of gender, orientation, colour are worth their while and deserve unconditional love from their respective parents.
Q. What was your first job and share some tips for coming out to your parents?
A. My first job was as an assistant dance choreographer at the age of 16. Take your time to come out but make sure you do. Don’t choke yourself inside your closet. You always have the power to choose. Choose well. Don’t live a lie. Be proud of who you are. Sending you best wishes and lots of love!
Q. I come from a very conservative family and I’m unable to accept myself and my sexuality. How can I be more confident and embrace who I am?
A. My dear friend Norden comes from a small town himself and he feels it’s great that you’re talking about this and asking these questions. That’s the first step towards accepting yourself.
I know what you’re going through and I know it’s a very difficult phase for you, but don’t let that be the reason for never coming out. Look for counsellors that can help you through this. And you can be confident by waking up every morning, looking into the mirror and telling yourself that you are beautiful the way you are. There are a lot of people out there who will love you for who you are! My best wishes to you.
Q. How do you think celebrity ambassadors such as Celina Jaitly help change people’s minds? Do you think more celebrities should come forward and talk about LGBT rights in India?
A. Mainstream celebrities definitely play a very important role in changing people’s perceptions about such sensitive issues as well as breaking age old stereotypes. Celina is a darling and a personal friend and she has been there for the LGBT community through thick and thin all these years and I salute her for that.
Yes I definitely think more celebrities should come out and support us.
I have been open about my sexuality throughout my journey in the entertainment industry and everyone I have interacted with has been nothing but supportive of me. It’s essential that Bollywood celebrities speak out about LGBT rights and help create more awareness.
…and we’re out!