Actress Malik takes stand for LGBTQ rights 0
Participants kiss during Queer Azaadi, an event promoting gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and queer rights in New Delhi, India, in July 2010. LGBTQ rights has been a hot topic in the South Asian country with noted actresses such as Veena Malik having a say. (REUTERS)
Pakistani actress Veena Malik recently posed for a sexy photo shoot to garner support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered individuals, a bold move in a part of the world where such subjects remain taboo.
When it comes to LGBTQ rights, Canada has emerged as a world leader. It was the third nation worldwide to legalize same sex marriages, and it remains the most progressive country of all the Americas. But despite broad strokes of progress, homosexuality is still considered criminal in many societies, particularly those with a strong history of sexual repression.
In India, homosexuality remains in the closet and homophobia is widely prevalent. Although attitudes shifted slightly when the Delhi High Court decriminalized homosexuality in 2009, progress has been impeded by the fact that homosexuality - or indeed any matters pertaining to sexuality - is rarely discussed in a frank and open manner.
Malik's scintillating photo spreads were meant to draw attention to the cause. After the shoot, the liberal actress stated, "Homosexuality is a taboo subject for the society, but if it should be taken in a positive way we will realize that every person has his own life and the right to live in his own way."
She noted that large organizations, such as the Olympic Games, do not discriminate against lesbians and gays, among others, adding this was enough reason to rally Bollywood behind the cause of equality. "Rights for all means all - irrespective of colour, gender or sexual orientation," Malik continued. "It's a matter of human dignity."
Malik is gearing up for the release of her first Bollywood film, Daal Mein Kuch Kaala Hai. She has also signed for the Telegu version of The Dirty Picture, which achieved critical acclaim in Bollywood thanks to the performance of the peerless Vidya Balan.
In the long run, Malik has got people talking. Even if her efforts are written off as a publicity gimmick, she's made people question what freedom and choice really means - an important topic for a country that prides itself on being the world's largest democracy.
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