New Delhi, July 24, 2017: India’s first LGBTQ radio show Radio ISHQ 104.8 is hosted by Harish Iyer, an LGBTQ activist and this show will not only disclose people’s narrative about their struggle stories of coming out of the closet but will also bring to light the experiences and anecdotes of individuals who have chosen a different road in life.
Gaydio being the first of its kind radio show in India hails for all inclusive love. It will serve as a platform to highlight the different voices which were silenced by the society till now, will come out in the open. It will spread the message that this is the time for people to reveal their true selves to the nation.
According to ANI report, the show is on air from July 19 and regarding this Harish Iyer said, “my intent is to keep it as inclusive and personal as possible. Radio is a very personal medium. The fact that it is a sound only medium makes it a more universal and a widely accessible medium. I am sure initiatives like these would give the listener a better understanding of gender and sexuality. This show would focus on the lives of LGBTQ people and understand that we are all the same and that #LoveIsLove without tags.”
Earlier there was a radio station by the name Q Radio which operated from Bangalore, dedicated solely to LGBT community. It was an online platform, which also had a mobile app, launched in 2013, but since 2015 there has been no active news on its existence.
Further, Shivangini Jajoria, National Head – Operations said, ” As a station, we always want to provide exceptional content to our listeners, with Gaydio we want to reinstitute the fact that Love is not conditional to sexuality. We as a station finally want to hear the unheard voices of the nation.” The new radio show will air every Sunday at 12 noon.
Here are few famous LGBTQ radio channels worldwide. In 2015, USA came up with the first online radio channel for LGBTQ- 96.7 Pride Radio in Minneapolis. Australia has its very own Only Gay and Lesbian community radio station, 94.9 Joy in Melbourne. There is a radio station in The UK by a similar name, 88.4 Gaydio. It is one of the biggest LGBT media platforms in the UK, garnering around 850,000 listeners per month.
– prepared by Kritika Dua of NewsGram, Twitter @DKritika08
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New York, September 13, 2017 Gay rights activist Edith Windsor, whose same-sex marriage fight led to a landmark US ruling, has died aged 88.
Her death was confirmed to the New York Times by her wife Judith Kasen-Windsor. She died in New York.
“The world lost a tiny but tough-as-nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality,” the BBC quoted Kasen-Windsor as saying.
“Edie was the light of my life. She will always be the light for the LGBTQ community, which she loved so much and which loved her right back,” she added.
Edith Windsor’s Supreme Court case struck down the Defence of Marriage Act in 2013, granting same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time.
She had sued the US government after being ordered to pay $363,053 in federal estate tax after her previous wife, Thea Spyer, died. The couple had been partners for 44 years and had married in Canada in 2007.
Windsor, known as Edie, argued that the provision of the law which defined marriage as between a man and a woman prevented her from getting a tax deduction due to married couples – and was “unconstitutional”.
In the landmark 2013 ruling, the US Supreme Court agreed – and that decision became the basis for a wave of further court rulings increasing the rights of same-sex couples.
In 2015, another crucial Supreme Court ruling gave same-sex couples the right to marry.
Remembering the gay rights trailblazer Edith Windsor, former US Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama also paid their tributes.
In standing up for herself, Edie also stood up for millions of Americans and their rights. May she rest in peace. https://t.co/9nNazdmnPP
“Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor – and few made as big a difference to America,” Obama said. While Clinton tweeted: “In standing up for herself, Edie also stood up for millions of Americans…” (IANS)
The grievous danger caused by marital rape is unable to gain recognition
Women should be granted rights to handle situations of marital rape
Illiteracy, poverty and religious beliefs are not an excuse for committing marital rape
July 25, 2017: Most of the countries have regarded marital rape as a criminal offense but India has still not taken this action and due to this, the debate about marital rape continues.
The future for women and their rights in India seems bleak as the grievous danger caused by marital rape is unable to gain recognition.
But what exactly is marital rape? It occurs when a man imposes sexual right on his wife by use of force, without taking her consent, or threat of force. In a country where domestic violence is a punishable offense, why isn’t domestic sexual abuse a crime? Just as domestic violence destroys and hurts the body, marital rape destroys and harms the soul. Rape is rape no matter who commits it. It could be your boyfriend, your uncle, your husband or a stranger. Any force experienced to indulge in sexual activity should be made a punishable act regardless of the relationship with the rapist.
Maneka Gandhi, The Union Minister for Women and Child Development, says that “marital rape” is inapplicable in a country like India since illiteracy, social customs, religious beliefs, poverty is widespread here.
This implies that it is acceptable for a man to force his wife into sexual activity because he is poor or illiterate.
Many of us often see our domestic help with a black eye, and when asked, she would say, husbands, are allowed to hit their wives as it’s the norm. The same norm permits husbands to rape their wives, without protection, whenever they come home drunk.
An Indian Marriage is more like a sexual contract as it provides the husband a right over his wife’s body and gives him ownership rights over the wife. This implies that a married woman has no right over her own body. Refusing to recognize marital rape as a criminal offense is equivalent to spreading the belief that it is acceptable for women to be raped as long as the rapist is her husband. If we want to develop our country and spread literacy, we need to grant women the control of their lives where it is her right to say no to her husband for sexual intercourse or pregnancy without being penalized or punished for it and commence help for abused women. It is necessary for the myth of “wifely duty” to end because sexual activity must take place with mutual consent and pleasure.
A few years back, newspapers carried a tale of a woman aged 26 who came back with severe injuries from her Bangkok honeymoon as her husband had violent sex with her. In order to achieve equality between men and women, it is essential to grant rights to women over their bodies, recognition of forced sexual activity in her marriage, and raising their voices against it. The government must provide help for abused women.
A Statistical report of the study conducted by The International Centre for Women (ICRW) in eight States: Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Haryana, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh covered 3,158 number of women and 9,205 number of men aged between 18-49. The sample represented various castes, income groups and religions. The NFHS report revealed that the majority of rape that women reported was within the marriage and only 2.3 per cent of rape reported by women to the interviewers of NFHS was by other men.
Not criminalizing marital rape is either to degrade the real bonds and affections that keep marriages held together in spite of differences and disagreements or to believe that marital rape and sexual abuse in marriages is a common affair. A positive step in this direction will give women a sense of security and a redressal mechanism in situations of marital rape.
-prepared by Harsimran Kaur of NewsGram. Twitter @Hkaur1025
Prumsodun Ok is the founder of Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA, the country’s first gay dance company
The troupe’s passion for classical Khmer dance has not gone unnoticed
Ok has learned “that service is not just about being comfortable: those who are comfortable are not always necessarily right”
Washington, July 1, 2017: Prumsodun Ok, a Cambodian-American born to refugee parents, knew he wanted to be an “apsara” dancer from the age of 4, when he was entranced by a performance captured on one of his family’s home movies.
No matter that the dance dated back to the seventh century, or that traditionally apsaras were beautiful, heaven-born females, destined to entertain gods and kings at the Angkor temples in the ancient Khmer Empire, modern-day Cambodia. Ok focused on the stylized grace of the dancing and thought little about the fact that the dancers were women, because he was a kid and he had a dream.
But he put that on hold for 12 years.
Growing up in Long Beach, California, home to 20,000 Khmer immigrants, Ok was bullied because he was “different.” He recalls being branded as gay and “kteu” — Thai or Cambodian slang for someone who is born male but acts or looks female — when he was 5. That name calling led him to self-identify as gay in his teens.
“I don’t know when I knew,” Ok said about realizing that he was gay, “but I can say that I only became comfortable in my latter years of high school. This is me, this is who I am, and no one can change that or take that away from me.”
That was about the time when, after years of watching his younger sister practice traditional Khmer dances, that he found the courage to approach her dance master.
A rising star among dance students
“I really love dance. Can you please teach me?” Ok pleaded, and Sophiline Cheam Shapiro agreed. Teenager Ok quickly became a rising star at her Khmer Arts Academy in Long Beach, which is affiliated with an arts ensemble in Cambodia.
The school, founded by Shapiro, teaches traditional arts to Cambodian-Americans. Shapiro was one of the first graduates from Phnom Penh’s School of Fine Arts after the fall of the Pol Pot regime and is revered as one of Cambodia’s leading contemporary dance choreographers.
In 2015, Ok, now 30, moved to Cambodia and established Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA, the country’s first gay dance company. Male dancers ages 18 to 24 fill roles traditionally performed by women. The troupe stages Khmer classical dances as well as new works that Ok creates.
“What I’m doing is drawing from our traditions and using these traditions in ways that people could never imagine to create a more inclusive and compassionate and just Cambodia,” he said.
Coming from “a long tradition of people who are in the service of society … of humanity,” Ok said he has learned “that service is not just about being comfortable: those who are comfortable are not always necessarily right.”
Srun Srorn, 36, the founder of CamASEAN and a human rights activist, told VOA Khmer that while the majority of LGBTQ Cambodians are marginalized and discriminated against, society is more tolerant of their role in the arts.
Ok’s group “is more professional, so I think it will bring the positive [response] from the community,” Srorn said. “So far, this part of the art — performing — is not getting any negative reaction from the public.
Ok says his role as a teacher of dance goes beyond the classroom.
“Getting them to learn how to see, getting them to have the courage to ask questions, getting them to have the bravery to explore things on their own,” he said. “Those are the most essential things that a teacher of any art form, or discipline or medium, needs to inspire in their students.”
Choung Veasna, 19, of Phnom Penh, says Ok gave him confidence: “I’ve learned from my teacher that no matter what people say about you, it doesn’t matter.”
Tes Sokhon, 24, from Pailin province, the oldest dancer in the group, says his teacher is inspiring.
“He’s more than my idol,” Sokhon said. “He’s the first teacher to train me in classical dance. He provides us with income and makes our lives better.”
‘Combination of beauty and tradition’
The troupe’s passion for classical Khmer dance has not gone unnoticed.
Craig Dodge, director of sales and marketing at Phare, the Cambodian Circus performance troupe in Siem Reap, said: “When I watched the video on their homepage and heard the young men talk about what performing has meant to them, their identity and their self-esteem, it made me cry.”
Dodge worked with Ok to make the troupe’s Siem Reap debut in Cambodia’s artistic center a reality, by tapping into the city’s strong sense of community, which he describes as “the perfect place for nurturing and presenting traditional and new Cambodian creative expression.”
Resident Darryl Collins, an art historian, is providing the venue without charge because “the combination of beautiful and traditional 100-year-old Khmer houses with an elegant contemporary form of classical dance seemed an exciting collaboration.”
Other Siem Reap businesses are pitching in with free accommodations, transportation, security and are helping stage the performances July 14 and 15.
Prumsodun Ok & NATYARASA is scheduled to perform three dances: PRUM x POP, ranging from Khmer classical dance to pop music; Beloved, which explores a 13th century Khmer king’s love for his land; and Robam Santhyea Vehea, a tale of love and marriage of two men.
Ok hopes an open-minded audience will see the performance as a measure of how LGBTQ people can create art in their communities.
“I want the company to be a model for compassion, for bravery, for beauty,” he said. (VOA)