When India slashed Article 377 in September 2018, it was indeed a huge month for the queer folks in the country. As we did away with the archaic sodomy law, there was a huge LGBTQ+ wave that followed. Suddenly, everyone was welcoming the big news, everyone was an ally, making films and shows on it, and wanted to talk about how "love is love." Amazing how we managed to keep up the charade by blissfully ignoring that although we were ready to celebrate same-sex love, gay marriages still remained illegal in India.
Yes, we did away with article 377 and all its archaic premises but could we do away with our primitive and, not to forget homophobic mindset? Say what you may, the answer is mostly 'no.' Award-winning show, Schitt's Creek's star and creator Daniel Joseph Levy recently revealed this hypocrisy by calling out an Indian channel for discriminating against gay people through censorship and editing out a gay kiss.
Schitt's Creek as a show has done commendable work to normalise same-sex love and marriages. In fact, that was the central theme of the show as Daniel (David) romanced his love interest Patrick (played by Noah Reid). Also, for once, it was nice to see a gay man himself making a show about gay love, something that gender activists have long been advocating.
The show was airing on Comedy Central India and in a promotion clip on Twitter last year, they had posted a scene from Season 5, Episode 5 of the show. It is a housewarming episode, where the characters play a game of Spin The Bottle and end up kissing each other. In the same scene, David kisses Ted (Dustin Milligan). However, the kiss has been conveniently edited out from the clip shared by the channel. And just for context, the kiss actually forms the premise of the entire episode. Also, here's the catch: the promo has not censored the kiss between two women and a man & woman which were also a part of the same sequence. Clearly, a decision was made here just to edit out the gay kiss and the logic behind it is just beyond us.
Daniel took to Twitter earlier this week, called out the hypocrisy, and raised concerns about how "the show is about the power of inclusivity. The censorship of gay intimacy is making a harmful statement against that message." Here's his tweet:
You showed the kiss between two women, you showed the kiss between a woman and a man, then removed the kiss between two men? This is a show about the power of inclusivity. The censorship of gay intimacy is making a harmful statement against that message. #loveislove https://t.co/3ouNbuetq1— dan levy (@danjlevy) October 6, 2020
Quite apparently, the channel legit went out of its way to edit out a gay kiss while making the call to retain everything else. So not cool and so not fair! I mean, we are literally talking about a show that worked so hard to humanise and normalise same-sex relationships. Schitt’s Creek winning almost all of the Emmy awards in the comedy category this year is proof enough. For us to casually edit out a gay kiss from this show reveals our utter disregard for all the labour that went into its making and also for inclusivity.
Not only is this unfair, but it's also extremely hypocritical given that we are the same country celebrating Arjun Mathur's Emmy nomination for his gay character in Made In Heaven. Seriously, are you forking kidding me? So much so for slashing out Section 377 and all the inclusivity campaigns! Right now, all of it looks like one huge rainbow-washing drive. Sad!
The channel is yet to comment on this abomination. Here's hoping that they speak soon and they speak sense (read apologise).
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