‘What is the army afraid of?’ Indian government stops film inspired by gay soldier

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03/03/2022

NEW DELHI — For years, J. Suresh struggled with shame over his identity as a gay man, which he kept to himself. When he joined the “hyper straight world” of the Indian army in the late 1990s, his feelings only intensified. Worried that he’d be discovered and dishonorably discharged, Suresh retired from the military as a major in 2010 after having served for more than 11 years. He waited 10 more years to officially come out as gay, fearing the disclosure would “somehow be detrimental to the image of the army,” he wrote in a blog post. When Suresh shared his story in July 2020, it made headlines across socially conservative India. It also captured the attention of Onir, a gay Indian filmmaker who goes by one name. It “fits my idea of the queer love story perfectly,” said Onir, whose coming film “We Are” is an anthology that tells four stories about LGBTQ characters, including one inspired by Suresh.

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