Did the authorities at Yavanika State Youth Centre refuse permission to Sangama, an NGO representing the sexual minorities, to screen “Let the butterflies fly”, a documentary highlighting the struggles faced by hijras?

Deepu, a representative of Pedestrian Pictures, which was part of the making of the film, informed the audience gathered at NGO Hall on Saturday, that initially they had planned function at Yavanika situated on Nrupathunga Road, but had to change their venue as the authorities would not allow the screening of a film representing the sexual minorities.

Mr. Deepu cited this as an example to demonstrate how the LGBT community is discriminated against. “This shows that the feelings towards the community has still not changed”.

Also, this film which won the award at the Kashish Mumbai Festival, was rejected at the Bangalore Film Festival which was held in January 2012, Akkai Padmashali, an active member of Sangama told The Hindu.

Akkai, however, said that they plan to screen the film in all other districts of Karnataka and aim to create awareness among the people. The judicial academy has also planned to screen the film for the judges to make sure they are aware of the problems that the community faces which will help them make fair decisions, she added.

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Bangalore: Sangama, a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), which fights for the rights of sexual minorities, released a film called “Let the butterflies fly” (Chittegalu Haaradali), at NGO Hall on Saturday morning.

The 74-minutes-long film has won the best feature length documentary at the Mumbai International Queer Festival held between May 23 and 27. It was nominated along with 120 other films from 30 different countries.

Chief Justice of Kerala High Court, Manjula Chellur released the copies of the film and stressed on the importance of accepting the sexual minorities as an integral part of the society and promoting awareness about it. She appealed to the society to think about the difficulties that the Hijras face before pointing fingers at them.

Director Gopal Menon told The Hindu that the title of the film carries a symbolic meaning and compared the butterflies to the members of the LGBT community as they too are sensitive like all other human beings. The title simply means “Let them flourish,” he said and added that it is not just about living but more about living with dignity and respect.

The release programme was followed by a screening of the film which is a joint venture by Sangama, Karnataka Sex Workers Union and Samara and Pedestrian Pictures.

Apart from capturing human emotions beautifully, the film candidly showcases the personal struggles that the community members go through in their daily life. The film mainly tries to highlight their problems through the story of a hijra named Shilpa, who was forced to undergo castration.

In the film, many members of the community have spoken about the atrocities inflicted upon the members of the community leading to physical, sexual as well as psychological torture. Mr. Deepu said that the film does not sensationalise on the hurt and anger of the Hijras. He also talked about how music has been used as a tool to portray the different ideas and celebration of cultures of the community.

Justice N.K Patil, who was also present, said that the members of the community need to be treated with love and respect and that necessary measures need to be taken by the Government to let the members live as free individuals.

Member Secretary of Legal Services Authority, Vishwanath .V. Angadi, Advocate B.T Venkatesh, writer Maralu Siddhayappa and director of the film, Gopal Menon were also present at the occasion.