Twenty nine-year-old Alex Mathew was rejected when he first tried to get into theatre.
“My femininity was an issue – and also my thick Mallu (Malayali) accent!” said Alex in an interview to NDTV.
His life choices – including a drag act as Maya the Drag Queen – also cost him a lot professionally.
Speaking about his journey Alex said, “I lost two jobs because of my drag act ….I did try to fight but they put it that it would be difficult for me…”
As the Supreme Court on Thursday struck down a ban on homosexuality after a decades-old campaign, against a colonial-era law, that used to hold back LGBT rights, the members of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender groups held tearful celebrations across the country.
A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court unanimously decriminalised part of the 158-year-old colonial law under Section 377 of the IPC.
The historic verdict read out by chief justice Dipak Misra states, “The law had become a weapon for harassment for the LGBT community.”
And this decision to decriminalise homosexuality should hopefully change the lives of many working in the corporate sector, who have been hesitant to reveal their sexual orientation which was deemed illegal before the Court’s judgement.
There are some companies who have been encouraging and also provided a supportive environment for those belonging to the LGBTQ community, one of them being the Lalit Ashok, Bengaluru.
Amid the huge celebrations across cities, the hotel also took a step forward to welcome the decision by organising a party for its employees.
A celebratory flag hoisting, cake-cutting and tea party were the highlights of the party at the Lalit Ashok, which has three members belonging to the LGBTQ community. Alex and two other employees unfurled the rainbow flag.
“To come from all that to be unfurling this flag today is amazing for me,” said Alex who is a PR and marketing executive at the hotel.
Narrating his experience, Alex’s colleague Sunil said, “I was sexually harassed in other jobs. Here I am treated no differently from others.” His smile as he spoke of the striking down Section 377 was infectious.
Another employee and colleague, Prabhu who also works at the hotel said, “We are so happy with the Supreme Court judgment.”
While the new law states society cannot dictate a sexual relationship between consenting adults, Alex has always received full support and love from his work place as well as home.
Alex had explained his mother about how his drag act was a form of art. Initially, she was a bit hesitant, when it came to accepting it. But, gradually she supported him. She lent Alex sari-blouses and taught him how to walk in heels. Today, she understands and relates her son’s creativity better.
The LGBT community in India has been fighting for their rights since decades and the Supreme Court verdict of decriminalising gay sex has come as a big relief for them. It is indeed, an understanding that will hopefully be encouraged in society too after what many LGBTQ activists described as their Independence Day.