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Manoj Bajpayee: Homosexuals much more accepted in society

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New Delhi: The National Award-winning actor Manoj Bajpayee believes that the majority has begun to accept the LGBT community and it’s the ‘minority’ who need to change their outlook towards homosexuals.

The country’s colonial-era provision of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, that criminalises homosexuality, continues to dread the homosexual community.

The National Award-winning actor, who is known for his power-packed, character-driven roles, is earning accolades for portraying the late Aligarh Muslim University academician Shrinivas Ramchandra Siras in Hansal Mehta’s “Aligarh”. Siras was suspended from his job as a professor because of his sexual orientation. He was found dead in his apartment in Aligarh in 2010.

“I am treating this as the biggest truth and I am ready to believe that today homosexuals are much more accepted in society. It is just that this minority who is aggressive, violent and loud that we have to keep on making these films to change their mind, to make them think and to keep the debate going,” Manoj told reporters in a candid tete-a-tete here.

Dressed in a casual white shirt and light blue denim, Manoj’s eyes lit up while he expressed the view that society, unfortunately, tends to take this “minority” as the “majority” when it comes to rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenders.

“I always believe in the thing that there is a minority in our society, which is very loud in their voices, who get this liberty from god knows where to invade into anybody’s privacy,” he asserted.

Manoj’s character in the film is a reserved mind, who loves Marathi literature, Lata Mangeshkar’s songs and whisky.

“He also has a very deep understanding of the word love and where he is talking about uncontrollable urge, which is very natural. This is what happens to me… I am heterosexual. It happens to me when I find a girl very attractive. When you love somebody, you love somebody completely…” the actor eloquently explained what love means to both Siras and him.

“You can fall in love with anything… With a certain kind of bird or a butterfly… Love has a broader meaning,” he added.

In 1998, Manoj captivated the imagination of Indian cinegoers as the underworld don Bhiku Matre in “Satya”. A year later, he stunned audiences as the honest police inspector Samar Pratap Singh in “Shool” and went on to do several memorable films before gaining mass acclaim as Sardar Khan in “Gangs of Wasseypur”.

Having done so much in films and theatre, the 46-year-old actor said he isn’t getting any younger. And he has shown it in his role of Siras, a sexagenarian.

“With age and experience, you only learn a lot about human beings. It is that and the craft… All of them together, along with research, which made me understand the minutest details of Siras. Understanding his soul, his state of mind, was very difficult and extremely important for me,” Manoj said.

However, he said that the techniques used by actors to get into the roles may not be understood easily by outsiders.

“The technique that we use is purely from actor to actor, but it is very difficult for an outsider to understand as to what we do, and what kind of workshop we conduct for ourselves,” he added.

Calling his role in “Aligarh” a “very challenging” task, Manoj said he had a “lot of responsibility towards the community and towards a life which was so pure and spiritual and dealing with a man who fought a very reluctant battle”.

Earlier this month, the Supreme Court referred to a constitution bench the curative petition seeking a relook at its earlier verdict upholding the validity of Section 377. Manoj says he is “very hopeful” that the bench will come out with a “constructive decision”.

“Aligarh”, which also stars actor Rajkummar Rao, released on Friday. (Ankit Sinha, IANS)

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India Set to Acquire First Dedicated LGBT Hiring Consultancy Firm

"We have over 50 companies, who are very interested in hiring from the LGBTI talent pool," Sinha said

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"We have over 50 companies, who are very interested in hiring from the LGBTI talent pool," Sinha said. Pixabay

Almost a year after the landmark Supreme Court judgement decriminalising homosexuality, India is set to get its first dedicated hiring consultancy firm for the members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender/transsexual, intersex and queer/questioning) community.

At present, even after the change in law, members of India’s LGBTQ community lag behind their western counterparts in attaining equal pay, corporate representation and other benefits.

Accordingly, the Bengaluru-based Diversity & Inclusion firm — Pride Circle — plans to shatter some of these stereotypes via a dedicated wing which will look at the job consultancy market for the LGBTQ candidates.

“There is a lot of systemic bias and roadblock for LGBTI job seekers, these becomes even more challenging for visibly LGBT individuals,” Pride Circle’s Co-Founder Ramkrishna Sinha told IANS.

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“The companies which participated in the job fair were delighted by the candidates they met, five candidates already got confirmed job offers from the fair.” VOA

“Our goal is to work with companies to eliminate such conscious or unconscious biases in the recruitment process and also work with candidates to enable them for facing interviews. A lot of LGBT candidates face issues of self-esteem, due to the series of discrimination they have faced.”

Not just unemployment of LGBTQ candidates, even the lack of sensitisation and unfriendly policies towards businesses that cater to this internationally significant segment of consumers has led to an estimated loss of around $30 billion to India’s GDP as per a World Bank report.

The 2014 World Bank report — Economic Cost of Homophobia and the exclusion of LGBTQ people: A case of India — estimated the country to have lost 0.1-1.7 per cent of the GDP due to homophobia.

“Companies have been hesitant in engaging and at times are unaware of the method to that engagement. The siloes leads to stereotypes and misinformation on both ends, leading to a growing chasm, our aim to build platforms of engagement for the community and corporation to meet,” Sinha said.

“We are encouraging corporations to have avenues of dialogue, look at opportunities to engage besides a full time job, and these could be fellowship, internship, skill building programs etc.”

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Additionally, the firm aims to organise the job fair in 10 cities over the next 18-24 months. The firm is hopeful to place at least 1,000 LGBTQ candidates within a year. Pixabay

Globally, this segment known generically as — Pink Dollar Economy — has become a financially significant sub-section of the consumer market for various industries like travel, insurance and even white goods.

Recently, the firm organised India’s first LGBTQ job fair — RISE (Reimagining Inclusion for Social Equity) — in Bengaluru. Over 40 companies participated in the event including the likes of Uber and Intel.

ALSO READ: People Feel it’s Time for Gay Marriage to Be Made Legal in India

Besides, the job fair saw a participation of more than 300 LGBTQ candidates for various sectors in IT, banking and administration. “We have over 50 companies, who are very interested in hiring from the LGBT talent pool,” Sinha said.

“The companies which participated in the job fair were delighted by the candidates they met, five candidates already got confirmed job offers from the fair.” Additionally, the firm aims to organise the job fair in 10 cities over the next 18-24 months. The firm is hopeful to place at least 1,000 LGBTQ candidates within a year. (IANS)