Rainbow warriors | Society | Times Crest
Popular on Times Crest
  • In This Section
  • Entire Website
  • Cruise control
    July 20, 2013
    We are educating girls, raising their aspirations, even giving them a taste of professional life, and then asking them to rein in their ambitions.
  • Home can be the place you want to leave
    July 20, 2013
    Amitava Kumar attempts to capture the essence of Patna in a short biography, quite unattractively titled 'A Matter of Rats'.
  • My baby whitest
    July 20, 2013
    The desire for ‘gora’ babies has many Indian couples opting for Caucasian egg donors.
More in this Section
Profiles
Leaving tiger watching to raise rice Ecologist Debal Deb, who did his post-doctoral research from IISc in…
The crorepati writer He's the man who gives Big B his lines. RD Tailang, the writer of KBC.
Chennai-Toronto express Review Raja is a Canadian enthusiast whose quirky video reviews of Tamil…
Don't parrot, perform Maestro Buddhadev Dasgupta will hold a masterclass on ragas.
A man's man Shivananda Khan spent his life speaking up for men who have sex with men.
Bhowmick and the first family of Indian football At first glance, it would be the craziest set-up in professional football.
From Times Blogs
The end of Detroit
Jobs in Detroit's car factories are moving to India.
Chidanand Rajghatta
How I love the word ‘dobaara’...
Can ‘bindaas’ or ‘jhakaas’ survive transliteration?
Shobhaa De
Anand marte nahin...
India's first superstar died almost a lonely life.
Robin Roy
It Gets Better

Rainbow warriors

|


LONELY NO MORE: Gay activist Sarav Chidambaram, who attempted suicide when he was 16, says that networking is a great way to deal with harrassment

Vanakkam, I am Sarav and I live in Boston. But I was born and brought up in Coimbatore, " says the young man clad in a grey T-shirt. In the YouTube video, he goes on to talk about his early life, the realisation that he is gay and his suicide attempt at the age of 16.

"I survived and though nobody asked me why I hurt myself, I realised what I had done was wrong. I will never attempt to take my life again, " says Sarav Chidambaram in Tamil. His message to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) youth is clear - life may be tough but you can handle it. Today, San Francisco-based Chidambaram is a successful software professional, a Bharatanatyam dancer, and an adult comfortable with his own sexuality.

His video is one of many that have been made as part of the 'It Gets Better' (IGB) project that was kicked off in the US in 2010. That year, many instances of LGBT youth who had committed suicide were widely reported in the media. To give hope to young people facing harassment, columnist and author Dan Savage and his partner Terry Miller made a YouTube video.

Today, IGB has become a worldwide movement. More than 50, 000 videos have since been created and viewed more than 50 million times. In Chennai, inspired by the project, members of Orinam. net, a bilingual LGBT resource website, decided to create and put up IGB videos. "We have about 380 people on our mailing list, who are based in and out of Chennai, " says L Ramakrishnan, from the health and human rights NGO Saathii, who volunteers as co-editor of the Orinam site. "We are always trying to reach out to LGBT youth and see how we can empower them with information and also let them know they are not alone. "

The idea is to share personal stories, issues and struggles, show how individuals overcame them and how life did get better for them. "The LGBT community in India has very few physical spaces such as community centres or clubs. The internet has been a great platform for collaboration for more than a decade, " says Shridhar Sadasivan, a software engineer who lives in New Jersey. Writer and co-editor of Orinam. net, he moved to the US from Chennai five years ago. "The IGB project is a logical extension of using that platform to reach out, " he says. In fact, Savage came up with the idea of IGB as it reaches out to a large audience. "Many of the suicides were a result of the intense bullying kids face not just on the playground but on Facebook, Twitter and through text messages, " says Seth D Levy, board member of IGB. "So, Savage thought of using social media in a positive way. "

Since many of the videos are in English, Orinam. net wanted to create Tamil videos that would also speak to the cultural context. "We wanted it to be in Tamil, so it could reach non-English speaking people, " says Sadasivan. "We have plans to add English and other regional language subtitles to the videos we make. "

Chidambaram's video was the first to go online early this year. "We have also linked IGB videos made by other groups and individuals, " says Sadasivan, who is working on a video based on his own experience. "I grew up in a small town in Tamil Nadu and have experienced bullying first hand, " he says. "I have been called names and harassed physically and verbally during my school days. So, personally I find these videos very helpful. "

However, making these videos can take an emotional toll as it brings up painful memories. "I was depressed for a week after I made it, " says Chidambaram. Sadasivan hopes to have his video ready by fall. "Bullying is a very emotional subject for me as it brings back dark memories from my school days, " he says.

However, the feedback keeps them going. "Many people who watched my video said they had faced similar situations, " says Chidambaram. "Sometimes I cried when I went through my mail as there are so many children out there who are suffering and have nowhere to go. " Orinam. net hopes to have more videos online soon. "A lot of footage has been shot in Chennai and is being made into videos, " says Ramakrishnan.

Other Times Group news sites
The Times of India | The Economic Times
इकनॉमिक टाइम्स | ઈકોનોમિક ટાઈમ્સ
Mumbai Mirror | Times Now
Indiatimes | नवभारत टाइम्स
महाराष्ट्र टाइम्स
Living and entertainment
Timescity | iDiva | Bollywood | Zoom
| Technoholik | MensXP.com

Networking

itimes | Dating & Chat | Email
Hot on the Web
Hotklix
Services
Book print ads | Online shopping | Business solutions | Book domains | Web hosting
Business email | Free SMS | Free email | Website design | CRM | Tenders | Remit
Cheap air tickets | Matrimonial | Ringtones | Astrology | Jobs | Property | Buy car
Online Deals
About us | Advertise with us | Terms of Use and Grievance Redressal Policy | Privacy policy | Feedback
Copyright© 2010 Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. For reprint rights: Times Syndication Service