To stop the spread of ‘gay culture’, TV9 ‘urged’ the youth to restrain themselves from getting attracted to the same sex.

TV9s homophobic rant Airs story on rise of gay culture in Telugu statesA screenshot from the video
news Media Tuesday, December 26, 2017 - 12:58

Are youngsters turning homosexual because of mental stress or from watching pornography? This homophobic question was posed by none other than TV9, a leading Telugu regional channel.

The cringe-worthy story, aired on the channel on December 25, was published on its YouTube channel with the title 'Gay culture on the rise in Telugu states.'

"The gay culture in western countries, is now increasing in the Telugu states. A large number of youngsters are now turning homosexual," the anchor declares at the start.

"What is the reason for the increase of this gay culture? What are doctors saying?" she asks.

The story then tries to ‘find out’ the ‘real’ reasons for the alleged spurt in gay culture in both Andhra and Telangana.

The reporter is no better than the anchor, as she asks, 'Are mental health problems the reason behind people turning gay?', before going on to declare 'shocking' statistics like there are at least 20 online groups looking for homosexual sex in Guntur city alone.

The channel also interviews two doctors, whose names and specialisations were concealed, for reasons best known to the channel. 

While one doctor advocates for safe sex among the gay community to prevent sexually communicable diseases, the other doctor's claims are downright outrageous. 

According to him, there are two things to be considered while 'dealing' with homosexual persons. The first being ‘trapping’ and ‘luring’ passive people into thinking that being gay is alright and okay. And the second are the Internet, social media and pornography.

Further, the story hails organisations which give‘treatment’ for ‘patients’ who identify themselves as gay.

The channel is also miffed with the progress of the gay community, and how they have taken a leap in asserting themselves, instead of keeping their identity discreet.

The channel concluded with a suggestion to stop the 'spread' of gay culture. 

“There is a need for youth to restrain from getting attracted to same sex, and they should be extremely cautious about the changes in the society or else the gay culture will further thrive,” it says.

TV9 also used visuals of a Malayali gay couple who got married in California in April 2015 without their permission.

Pictures taken from: These pictures of a Malayali gay couple's wedding in California are just beautiful

Activists have lashed out against TV9 Telugu for its highly discriminatory programme, arguing that the channel should be breaking stereotypes and encouraging dialogue rather than promoting homophobic content.

"The general public learns from the media. They assume that the media is telling them the right things, and will agree with TV9 when it pushes homophobic content like this," says Abhishek from Queer Campus Hyderabad, an agglomeration of LGBTQ allies in the city.

"It is the responsibility of media persons to research and understand the issue that they are talking about before broadcasting such content," Abhishek adds.

A repeat offender

TV9 has drawn flak for similar content in the past.

In 2011, on the pretext of doing an "investigative piece" into the underground gay culture in the city, TV9 made fake accounts on a dating website for gay persons, got phone numbers, photographs, and names of gay men, and outed them on television, without their consent.

"While some do it for new pleasures, some get spoilt by friends, others do it for the craving of money, the remaining are vowed by the lust. Some of them have changed it into a business by capturing teenagers mind and get them into this hell. Getting them into this anti-social lifestyle. In the city, a lot of clubs give permission to organize gay parties without letting the rest of the world know," the channel had claimed at the time.

Many men were traumatised by the story, with one person even attempting suicide. The story also resulted in widespread protests with several groups reaching the offices of TV9. 

"At the time, when protests happened, they apologised saying that a lack of information and ignorance led to the story, and promised that they would be sensitive. They do not seem to have learnt their lesson," Abhishek says.

Abhishek also points out that a programme titled 'Naveena' that is aired on the channel and hosted by anchor Jhansi is sensitive of such social issues, and handles it well. 

"However, in their news bulletins and stories like this, they go on homophobic rants. This is contradictory, and they need to spell out their stand on the matter," he added. 

 

These pictures of a Malayali gay couple's wedding in California are just beautiful

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