‘In the life of Romal’, is an ongoing project where I am documenting the life of my friend, Laishram Romal Michael Singh. Romal is gay. Being gay isn’t the end of his identity, isn’t it? But being gay can be enough to pass a prejudiced judgement in Indian society where homosexuality is still shunned upon.
Till recently, consensual homosexual act between two adults was a crime in India. Decriminalization of homosexuality may have marked a new era of human rights in India. But, it is still a long way before a majority of the population starts treating homosexual individuals as equal in the city.
Romal is a multi-faceted individual. He is religious (Christian) and gay at the same time, and this fascinates me because religious institutions are most often in disagreement with homosexuality.
His identities of being gay, Christian, a Manipuri, a Tamil, a friend, a writer, and so on, are being explored in this project to go beyond stereotypes on gay community existing in Indian society.
The story takes a deviation from loud, defiant form of gay activism that is generally noticed. Even defiance can become a stereotype.
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