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It is a classic argument that censorship of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (glbt) artwork helps to generate much needed publicity. While this may be true in theory, in practice, we often forget or overlook the stigma perpetuated for a majority of other gay art initiatives. A glbt or LGBT art work does not necessarily start from a point, ‘oh, let’s make it bolder to get it banned.’  Pushing the boundaries of public perception may be one of the objectives behind a creation, but it cannot be the sole purpose of its existence.

Artists and filmmakers produce work primarily to show it around. It makes their job more difficult if they have to overcome a  number of hurdles to reach a stage of showcasing, only to find their work is banned due to ‘perceived’ objectionable content. By allowing a particular trend of censorship targeted towards gay art and films and the following worldwide publicity is neither about quality of the art work, nor is it a healthy situation.

The above reference is not just limited to MIFF removal of ‘L.A. Zombie ‘ a 2010 queer cinema zombie film, nor to a news about web portal of Amazon quietly de-ranking every LGBT book in its catalogue. While organising this year’s GFEST – Gaywise FESTival, it seems people still have not moved away from the perception that gay art equates to pornographic material and hence we still get an odd request for reassurance about censuring work before it goes on display.

If the art work in question violates the law, self censorship by the creator may be the best possible answer. However we need to follow a broader trend: zero tolerance towards needless and undesired censorship of gay art work.

posted by Subodh Rathod
More info on GFEST – Gaywise FESTival (GFEST in short) web:

GFEST Artistic Director: Niranjan Kamatkar
WISE THOUGHTS is an arts charity that organises GFEST – Gaywise FESTival  in venues across London.

GFEST web networks: