My friend, Sheela Lal, over at Brown Girl Magazine found something queer in the horizons for MTV’s reality show “MTV Splitsvilla: Where Love Is War,” and she kindly let her Gaysi sister in on it.
MTV Splitsvilla is a show where larke and larkiyaan fight for love in Goa (of course). This not so classy article discusses the supposed plans for the fifth season. Unfortunately, a google search yielded no other articles. Despite the lack of quality sources, I decided to go ahead and write about it anyway because it’s too intriguing.
The article suggests that with the introduction of queer characters there is going to be a shift from “short-lived” relationships to more serious ones. I’m not sure why it was assumed that queer people intrinsically have different types of relationships than straight people. However, considering queer people are usually depicted as negatively sexually promiscuous I am not going to complain. This might be good for queer people in India, since it promotes healthy queer relationships and shows a bit of our reality to the general public.
When I read the line in the article “the plan is to invite gay people too [to the auditions]”, I wondered how they would do that and I am also curious as to why they suddenly felt the need to. How are they going to tastefully and sensitively reach out to queer people when running auditions? Why have queer people not made the cut so far? In the grand scheme of things it is pretty sad that even subtle or verbally closeted queerness hasn’t made it onto the set yet. It wouldn’t be shocking if the general perception thus far has been that queer people are not welcome on such overtly heteronormative shows.
When they stated, “This year they want to include participants who are either open or comfortable with their sexuality,” I was pleased that they seemed to be looking beyond the straight-gay binary towards just anybody who is confident and comfortable regarding their sexuality. I do, however, hope this doesn’t result in straight people essentially filling in small queer plots here and there, instead of queer people filling in their own plots.
Regardless of the questionable intentions and potentially negative outcomes, I am curious to see how this turns out. I’m sure there will be some queer people in India who, regardless of the type of representation they are getting, will be thankful to see some more queer desis on TV. Perhaps this signifies the pleasant post-377 attitudes towards queer people in India that everyone has been waiting for.