A reader in Mumbai writes:
Some of the advances in gay acceptance might be due to the actions of Time Out magazine. You may know that this international franchise is extremely gay-friendly. It always struck me that Time Out Mumbai had gay sections in every issue, despite the cultural conservatism of their countries. The magazines just assume there are gay consumers who wanted tips on shit to do and provide them. No controversy, no drama – just seeing the world as it is. I can't imagine this hasn't helped normalization.
In the late '90s, I met a group of gay men in New Delhi. They were professional middle-class men in their forties – a lawyer, a humanities prof, the kind of men who pay attention to media and social trends. They would have found an open Pride-like demonstration unimaginable then, but they talked about how much attitudes to homosexuality had changed in India and they credited one person: Oprah.
Her show was wildly popular and spawned many Indian imitations. So when Oprah featured gay guests, so did the Indian hosts. This created an awareness of homosexuality that hadn't been there before, especially in small towns and rural villages. Before Oprah, one man told me, villagers thought of homosexuality as a big-city phenomenon. As the Indian Oprahs started interviewing gays from across the country, villagers realized that queers are here, too.