Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur)

Should LGBTQ+ artistes play queer characters on screen?

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Acting is all about getting into another person’s shoes. If a straight actor is playing a gay character, then they bloody well do a good job!

teenager with cerebral palsy. “It is extremely important that queer stories are mainstream­ed. That we have queer characters in cinema who aren’t there because they are queer; their sexuality is immaterial,” she asserts.

Gay rights crusader Harish Iyer feels to expect queer people to play queer roles might “go against the principles of acting as a field”. Iyer opines, “When we ask if queer actors should play such parts, we’re implying that they shouldn’t play straight roles… Having said that, I believe people with experience will be able to portray those roles better.”

It (casting queer actors for queer characters) gives voice to the ignored, unheard, abused and underrepre­sented.

Durga Gawde, India’s first performing drag king, echoes a similar sentiment: “For instance, look at Pose. When non-binary, trans-folks of colour are cast to portray roles about queer lives, magic happens. We need more magic in the world.”

Shree Ghatak, a trans-woman who was seen in Season’s Greetings, feels mainstream actors are crowd-pullers and hence, makers would rather cast them. But, she rues the lack of opportunit­ies for actors like her. “Unless we are given a chance, how will we gain fame, become bankable and a choice for filmmakers to headline their projects?” she asks.

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