TOI comes Out & Proud in their outlook on the LGBTQ community
September 6, 2018 will forever be remembered as a landmark day for the world’s largest democracy as India took an iconic step to build a progressive and inclusive future when the Supreme Court of India de-criminalised the 158-year-old colonial law of section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. With this landmark judgment, the gay community got a legal nod to sexual rights. Although laws have changed for the better, we still witness negative attitudes towards the LGBTQ people unfortunately persisting. To address this taboo, The Times of India in collaboration with FCB India launched the campaign “Times Out & Proud” to drive the one-point agenda – Acceptance.
Majority of the LGBTQ community is still living a life of discrimination and constantly worry about how their choices may impact their loved ones. Today, the LGBTQ community across the world has been striving for one goal that most of us take for granted: Acceptance. On the occasion of International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO), The Times of India (TOI), India’s iconic media house in collaboration with FCB Ulka launched the initiative “Times Out & Proud” that gives hope of an inclusive society. This campaign is aimed to empower the members of the LGBTQ community to live a dignified life with acceptance and pride. On 17 May 1990, the General Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from their list of mental disorders. This decision by the WHO constitutes a historic date and powerful symbol for members of the LGBTQ community. With this campaign, TOI hopes to carve out a mainstream space for members of the community who identify as LGBTQ to interact, share and collaborate with the entire Indian population.
As a part of the campaign, TOI invites the LGBTQ community to share their stories with the newspaper – their highs and lows, their celebrations, their announcements, their milestones etc. TOI launches Times Out Proud Classifieds on the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) that will carry these stories across key metros at no cost during the campaign tenure of the campaign. The campaign film launched on TOI’s digital platform, portrays a captivating story of people from the LGBTQ community and their families who have been living with a hope of an inclusive world. The film offers a sneak-peak into the lives of the people who have endured all societal discriminations as they pour their heart out in the classifieds columns. The campaign urges the families and friends of the LGBTQ community to extend their support to their loved ones.
Commenting on the Times Out & Proud campaign, Sanjeev Bhargava, Director, Brand TOI, said, “At TOI, we believe in celebrating the differences in an inclusive society. The LGBTQ community has always had a place in our hearts, now they also have a special place in our paper. Through this campaign, we aim to provoke the readers to debate archaic notions and adopt a progressive outlook towards modern living. Acceptance and inclusivity are two biggest challenges for all those who are born different or choose to be non-conventional. Through the Times Out and Proud campaign, we hope readers would join hands with us to tackle prejudices and extend a warm welcome to the LGBTQ community to live happily and productively alongside the mainstream.”
Speaking about the campaign, Swati Bhattacharya, CCO of FCB Ulka said, “There is nothing like transsexual jealousy, heterosexual laughter, homosexual silence. If we all feel the same things we must be the same. A classified column is the oldest part of the newspaper, one that concerns itself with life, death, birth, job, issues that concern members of LGBTQ community as well. This shall serve as a/the perfect reminder to humanity that there’s more to connect us than divide us.”
The initiative, Times Out & Proud, is conceptualised as a continuous series of multiple initiatives across print, digital, TV, radio and on-ground. Through various content, interactions and activations, the campaign will aim to better integrate the LGBTQ community and raise awareness of their issues. The concept of gender-fluidity is not easily accepted or even understood by many. We live in a world where everyone is presumed to be heterosexual (or straight). And, a significant chunk of society think that everyone should comfortably fit into a male or female gender bracket. Well, that’s not true. We will never know the exact size of LGBTQ community in India because of the stigma attached to it and therefore, many choose to remain in the ‘closet’. But, we do know that more number of people are extending their support to the pride movement, and more members of the LGBTQ community are coming-out. The lack of understanding is one of the key reason for confusion, fear and hate leading to low acceptance and alienation of the community.
With our voice being a powerful tool to address the issue at hand, here is now an opportunity, an outlet/platform where we could share our coming out story, or tell the world about an anniversary with our same-sex partner. Making for the perfect chance to rejoice and celebrate this community, the campaign allows us to show our support for an LGBTQ friend or relative via a story in 50 words. So if you want to make a noble difference to the cause and be featured in Times Out and Proud classifieds, write in to us with your full name & contact number at email@example.com.