Docuseries on LGBTQIA+ community aimed at busting prejudices, says director

The five episodes of This is Me highlight prominent members of the community, including transgender judge Jyoita Mondal, first trans celebrity hair stylist Sylvie Rodgers, and interdisciplinary artist-elocutionist Sujoy Prasad Chatterjee.

Docuseries on LGBTQIA+ community aimed at busting prejudices, says director

This is Me Poster

By:
Mohnish Singh

Actress-turned-filmmaker Arpita Chatterjee has stitched together narratives of LGBTQIA+ community members in a documentary series in an attempt to bust prejudices against people with various gender identities.

This is Me, her first venture in documentaries, is being streamed on an OTT platform from June 25 during Pride Month which commemorates the long struggle for the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual (LGBTQA) individuals.

The five episodes of This is Me highlight prominent members of the community, including transgender judge Jyoita Mondal, first trans celebrity hair stylist Sylvie Rodgers, and interdisciplinary artist-elocutionist Sujoy Prasad Chatterjee who share their intensely personal and moving stories, Chatterjee said.

This is Me sheds light on the often misunderstood notions of gender identity and sexual orientation. It will also highlight the significant challenges faced by the community.

“The series delves into historical and social influences that have shaped social perceptions, exploring topics such as the difference between gender identity and the psychological impact of gender dysphoria,” she said at a programme here.

Chatterjee’s friend, film director Onir who had cast her in his 2017 film Shab (Night), was present at the event where the series was announced on Tuesday.

“I have come here as a supporter since I strongly believe there is the imperative need to bring out these stories, tell these stories before the larger audience,” Onir told PTI.

Stating that society has to traverse the long way for actually treating transgenders as “us”, Onir rued that members of the community are still being regarded as “others”.

Asked about the reason behind very few films being made focusing on the community, the My Brother Nikhil director said, “Such stories don’t get support from industry since they (makers) are afraid of resistance from large masses. They think it is not a popular subject, they don’t think it is important.”

Chatterjee said as work for the documentary progressed, she herself got to know more deeply about the pangs, sufferings, cries and the call for acceptance of the community.

“We talk about observing the Pride Month but should not the spirit of Pride Month be upheld, be commemorated for 365 days? It cannot be just limited to a month, a day. The sensitivity should be imbibed within for the entire year,” she said.

To a question, she said, “I certainly miss Rituparno Ghosh’s absence, his guidance during the making of this docuseries. He would have given such insightful tips had he been around.”

Sujoy Prasad said, “Being a part of This Is Me and as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community myself, I feel proud when someone from outside the community takes the initiative to learn about us and executes it on a larger scale to educate people.”