Giving a voice to the LGBT community

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BANGALORE, October 5:  Twenty-nine-year-old Rachael (name changed) puts on her headphones and sits in front of the mike as a guest on Q radio, India’s first radio channel for the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) community.

She talks about how a psychiatrist in Kerala advised her to undergo “shock treatment” to “cure her” during a one-hour talk shock HqO where she speaks to Vaishalli Chandra, the host, about her challenges which involved opening up to her parents that she was lesbian.

Narrating some of the trauma she had to go through, which involved breaking away from her marriage and seeking professional help to help her parents accept that she was “lesbian”.

“Even now they live in denial,” she said in a low-pitched voice on the show on Friday.

Coming out of the studio, Rachael says, “I feel like I have spoken to several people over the past hour. I spoke about all the things that are so private in a public space. I hope that my experience can make a difference and help other people come out of the closet.”

Q radio, out and loud was launched last month aiming to give a “voice” to the LGBT community is managed Radiowalla, a company that runs 38 radio stations. The studio is tucked in the narrow lanes of Vasanthnagar. Vaishalli, who is the channel manager of Q radio says that the channel aims to create a platform for LGBT discourse, activism, advocacy and entertainment. “Through this medium we want people from the LGBT community to share their experiences which are all unique yet very similar.” .

Anil Srivatsa, CEO, co-founder of Radiowalla, who used to be a part of a FM channel conceptualised the idea of starting a channel for the LGBT community after one of the show he hosted for the LGBT was received with good response.

Stressing that homosexuals do not live in isolation, The channel also aims to attract listeners from outside the LGBT community to help them understand about LGBT community.

The channel currently has three dedicated members as well as freelance contributors who host seven shows throughout the week. While some shows such as Querilicious hosted by Romal Singh aims to celebrate being queer, another show Heart to Heart with Innersight aims to strike an emotional chord with their listeners.

Explaining that the radio studio is always filled with chaos where his guests sometimes break into a dance when the show is on, Romal said that his show aims to help people celebrate their sexuality. The channel currently runs on subscriptions and is also funded by grants from NGOs and corporations. Those interested can log on to www.radiowalla.in

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