LGBTI activists in India are using the power of music to convey the plight of lesbians in the country.
‘Ladies And Gentle Women’ is the first ‘lesbian anthem’ recorded in Tamil, which is the official language of the south western state, Tamil Nadu.
The song and accompanying music video tell the love story of two women who fall in love outside of a city setting.
Director Maalini Jeevarathnam said the song has the potential to reach thousands of people and show that lesbian love is found everywhere.
‘Lesbianism is not a western influence or something that exists in the upper class,’ she told Times of India.
‘It is natural in both people living in the villages and the cities, and all classes of people. And we wanted to portray this aspect in the music as well.
‘When you do a song on the subject, the song becomes a platform to reach lakhs (hundreds of thousands) and lakhs of people.’
Romance with a message
The song’s lyrics are romantic and the images from the video show the couple in bed, enjoying a beach sunset and basking in each other’s presence.
‘Won’t you dare to soar/come by my side girl,’ the singer says in the song.
‘You adorned me with your golden garland/and you set my life aflame you delightful demoness.’
The song was released alongside a documentary of the same name. Jeevarathnam directed the projects to show lesbians have a long way to go to be achieve equality in India.
‘I have been fighting for the rights of LGBT people and campaigning against them committing suicide,’ she said.
‘Last year alone, there were 17 deaths of LGBT persons in Chennai. These are the ones that have come to our knowledge and there are more men and women who are either committing suicide or losing their lives to honour killing because of their sexual orientation.
‘I hope this documentary acts a platform to bring such incidents to light.’
Sexual acts between same-sex attracted people are illegal under Section 377 of India’s Penal Code. Jeevarathnam said ‘377 needs to be changed’.
Watch the lesbian anthem video here.