On 17 May — International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO — the Times Group, in association with FCB Ulka, launched an initiative to raise awareness around the importance of acceptance and inclusivity of the LGBTQ community within society. Titled #TimesOutAndProud, it was accompanied by a film that showcases the daily struggles of the people of the community. The ‘Times Out & Proud’ film had touched the hearts of more than 12 million people across the nation within its first 10 days, making this a significant movement for the cause in India.
As a response to the campaign, hundreds of emails have poured in from all over the country from members, families and supporters of the community who wish to share their stories and express their support.
The very first day of the LGBT Pride Month, i.e 1st June, marked a monumental day as TOI proudly carried the first ever dedicated personal announcement section of the community through the #TimesOutAndPride Classifieds: A safe space for the community. The first-hand accounts written by the members of the community were about their lives, hopes and ambitions, and through classifieds, were available for the world to read.
The campaign has also travelled beyond newspaper and digital with a series of on-ground interactions. The message has been integrated with the Pride parades across the country.
A special audition was hosted for the model selection for Bangalore Times Fashion Week for transgender models who would be added to the talent pool for the event.
Coming up soon are Out & Proud nights that will feature specially created and curated stand up and slam poetry acts.
Receiving applause from people across different strata of society, the film strikes a chord with viewers as it sheds light on the people who have been subject to unnecessary prejudice, taking the core message of ‘inclusivity and acceptance’ to a larger audience. Coming out and proudly so, the initiative has garnered support from Bollywood, MPs, Lawyers, LGBTQ activists, TV stars, business tycoons and national award winning directors.
With this initiative, TOI hopes to carve out a mainstream space for members of the community who identify as LGBTQIA+ to interact, share and collaborate with the entire Indian population. This campaign is aimed to empower the members of the LGBTQ community to live a dignified life with acceptance and pride.