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Imran Khan: LGBTQ issue has the potential to embarrass India

Underscoring that he is not proud of the way Bollywood portrays the LGBTQ community, actor Imran Khan has said that the discrimination against them has the potential to embarrass India.

Imran Khan
Imran Khan

"I am not proud of the manner in which my industry portrays the LGBTQ community," Imran Khan said participating in a panel discussion on "LGBTQ Rights in India" at the annual India Conference 2016 organized by the Indian students of the Harvard University last evening.

"I would like where it is treated as equal. To me it is ludicrous that we have to discuss this at all. To me it is ludicrous that we have to talk about gay rights. It is human rights. It is basically an issue of civil liberties," Khan said at a packed auditorium of the Harvard University.

"I fear that this is one of those things that has the potential to embarrass our country on the world stage. When we are talking of India shining and there is a massive, unprecedented growth, then we are also under global spotlight.

The world is looking at us on what we do on this," he added. He hoped that time is not far away when this kind of divide will stop existing and will reflect in Bollywood films too.

"I do not want us to be standing there with egg on our face. It has to happen, in which Bollywood portrays LGBTQ as a normal person," he said.

Influential parliamentarian Jay Panda was of the view that with Supreme Court deciding to review its previous ruling on Section 377 of the IPC, the country is at a very delicate moment. Either it could be a historic moment for the country or end up being like two step forward and one step backward.

"We are at a potentially historic turning point," Panda said. Responding to a question, Panda said there is much greater acceptance and awareness of the issue not only in the society, but also among the parliamentarians and political parties. "I see this as a crack in the door," he said.

Ridhika Batra, director FICCI USA, said that the Indian industry has taken a number of measures to address the discriminatory policies towards LGBTQ community.

"But there is need to do more," she said.

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