Wendell Rodricks is an Indian fashion designer based in the western Indian region of Goa. He has been listed among one of India’s top ten designers. He is also an activist for social causes, the environment, and gay rights, being himself a homosexual. In 2014, Government of India conferred upon him its fourth-highest civilian award, the Padma Shri.
As part of our It Gets Better India project, we had a chat with him about issues concerning the LGBTQ movement in India.
Tell us about your journey, how did you come out and how has life been since then?
Truth be told I did not come out. I took friends home and my family accepted them. I had a kind of outing when we signed our French Civil Union and Shobha de wrote about it. I felt as if a huge cloud had lifted. Life has always been smooth sailing for me because I was always honest about my orientation.
What is your opinion on media representation of LGBTQ?
The Indian media is very very kind, sympathetic and overtly supportive about LGBTQ as a community. They have been more than sensitive in every way and I am grateful for their unconditional support.
Are there any instances where you, or someone you know, faced discrimination and how do you handle such situations?
We all face discrimination at some time. But it is how we handle it is what matters. I think that by being kind and understanding to the aggressor is the best resort.
What steps can be taken to mainstream dialogue on homosexuality in India?
We must insist on amending section 377… just amending the section to say that sex between consenting adults in private is not criminal. People have not even read section 377 and they insist on scrapping it. We should not. Also talking about gay marriages and gay rights before we amend section 377 is a bit daft and over ambitious.
What are the Do’s and Don’t’s when you are dealing with the cause of LGBTQ or with a person from the community?
Do insist that Section 377 is amended. Do stand up unafraid in public. Do win over the judiciary, the government and the public by responsible behavior aimed at acceptance rather than confrontational drama. Do not be afraid. There are many on our side who want equal rights for LGBTQ.
JAI HIND !
Big thank you to Wendell for having a chat with us! If you would like to share your story, or known someone who would like to do so, do email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.