The Indian defence ministry has rejected the script of a film showing a gay soldier in the Army. The ministry should rethink its stand on this issue, which is inspired by a real-life struggle.
In India, any film showing content relating to the defence forces is required to get clearance from the Ministry of Defence.
That’s why, on December 16, 2021, Indian award-winning filmmaker and gay rights advocate Onir submitted to the Ministry of Defence the script of his new film, inspired by the story of a gay Major who quit the service.
After working freely on movies portraying queer lives and showing police abuse of gay characters, even when same-sex relationships were criminalized in India, he couldn’t expect that a fictitious story about a gay man in the Army, would be met with censorship in 2022.
But that is what has happened, despite the script being very respectful of the Army: On January 20, 2022, the Ministry of Defence communicated to the filmmaker that the script “has been analysed in detail. It is regretted to inform that the script has not been cleared by IHQ of MoD (Army).”
On questioning, Onir was told on a call that there was no specific problem with the script, but it cannot be cleared as being Gay is “illegal” in the army.
Despite the Indian Supreme Court decriminalizing consensual same-sex relationships in 2018, it looks like the Indian Army have not recognized it yet and still treat anyone from the queer community as illegal.
This story has already been in the public domain for over two years, since Major J Suresh, who has retired now, gave an interview to New Delhi Television (NDTV) about his not being able to be himself in the Army and, therefore, having to quit it, to be honest to himself.
This story has to be told because it’s unacceptable that being queer still does not allow someone to serve the nation that they love by joining the Army.
Sign this petition to call on the Ministry of Defence to reconsider their decision.