Even though LGBT (Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights are evolving in India, a majority of the population in the country still has hesitance to accept the community, and they are widely considered a marginalized section of people. Amid all these challenges, there are several people from the LGBT community who have tasted success in their lives, and one among them is Tony Michael, a celebrity makeup artist who has worked with Prayaga Martin, Deepthi Sathi, Shobhana, Lena, Parvathi Nair, and Lakshmi Menon. In a recent interaction with International Business Times, Tony opened up about the state of the LGBT community in Kerala and revealed that Keralites are still hesitant to accept people in this community.
Kerala and LGBT rights
Tony Michael revealed that places like Bengaluru are giving acceptance to the LGBT community, while the conservative mindset of people in Kerala is not ready to accept and respect this marginalized society.
"I was in Bengaluru for nearly 10 years. During my days in Bengaluru, I understood one thing, people are ready to accept the LGBT community. But unfortunately, things are different in Kerala. I strongly believe that Keralites, despite having high literacy are very much hesitant to accept this community. In Bengaluru, there are several males who use makeup and easily roam in the streets. But in Kerala, it is not happening, and it is due to the fear towards society," said Tony.
Tony's comment comes at a time when violence against people in the LGBT community is rising in Kerala. Despite strict awareness programs, people in the state are still sidelining the community, and recently, several mysterious deaths within the LGBT community had shocked the public.
Issues surrounding sexual orientation
Tony asserted that sexual orientation should not be a problem for a person to pursue his career. The makeup artist admitted that he is gay, and he revealed that there were many struggling phases in his career due to sexual orientation.
"In the initial days of my career, I was sidelined several times due to my sexual orientation, but I stood tall, and I am literally proud of my sexual orientation. I request everyone not to treat gays, lesbians, and transgenders as different. They are also human beings, and they also deserve a place in this society. Each and every person has his own character. People should try to understand and respect it. Authorities and the general public should try to bring people in these communities to the forefront," added Tony.
Tony who considers himself as a born makeup artist has already worked with several top names in the fashion industry that including Dabboo Ratnani, one of the most popular and commercial photographers in India, and renowned makeup artist Avinash S Chetia.