National award winning film ‘Breaking Free’, directed by Sridhar Rangayan won the Best Film and director Onir won the ‘Trailblazer’ award for his film ‘My Brother Nikhil’ at the 3rd Likho Awards For Excellence In Media in Mumbai on December 15, 2018. The awards are an initiative of Bombay Dost, India’s oldest LGBTQ magazine, and The Humsafar Trust, community-based organization (CBO) in Mumbai working since 1994 in the area of health and human rights of sexual minorities. The event was sponsored this year by Blued, a gay social networking app.
Among the winners this year in 10 different categories were All India Radio, Mumbai Mirror, Buzzfeed India, Publicis Singapore, author R Raj Rao, and Madurai-based Transgender Resource Centre.
“The Likho Awards is a community effort to recognise sensitive and well investigated stories and news on the LGBTQ communities in India,” said Ashok Row Kavi, founder chairperson of The Humsafar Trust. “The Likho Media Summit and Media Awards was conceptualized by Bombay Dost and The Humsafar Trust to encourage sensitive and erudite coverage of LGBTQ news and opinion. The task becomes all the more important after Supreme Court’s historic Section 377 verdict. While the law has changed, there is the much more difficult task of changing in societal attitudes towards the LGBTQ community. We believe that the media will play a crucial role in this effort for an equal society,” added Ashok Row Kavi.
Tarun Katial, CEO of Zee5 and chief guest of the event congratulated the winners and said that he was amazed at the content that was produced on LGBTQ issues and emphasised the need for promoting such voices for equal rights.
Guest of Honour and Consul General of Canada in Mumbai Annie Dube, said,”Our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has maintained that ‘Diversity is a reality and Inclusion is a choice’. We strongly believe this inclusion is the only way forward. On the occasion of Likho Media Awards, we would like to congratulate Humsafar Trust and Bombay Dost along with all partners for the excellent work done towards building awareness on role of media in social change as well as promoting and acknowledging inclusive portrayal of LGBTQ communities in the media.”
“As the world’s largest gay social networking app, Blued stands together with India’s LGBTQ community and its media. It is the Corporate Social Responsibility（CSR）of Blued to supporting equal rights of LGBTQ community,” said Yu Jun, Country Manager of Blued.
The day-long event on December 15, 2018, started with the Likho Indian LGBTQ Media Summit at Hotel Rangsharda in Bandra West. The line-up of speakers at the summit included writer-director Vinta Nanda, National award winning filmmaker Sridhar Rangayan, Parmesh Shahani, Head, Godrej India Culture Lab, transgender journalist and politician Apsara Reddy, director Nupur Asthana, Hemant Shringy, executive creative director, BBDO India, writer Anuraadha Tewari, Priya Babu, founder of Transgender Resource Centre and singer and India’s Got Talent Season 8 semi-finalist Bidisha Mohanta. Short film ‘Cover Story’ directed by Suhail Abbasi and produced by Queer Ink was also screened at the summit. The summit was followed by the Likho Awards For Excellence In Media, that honoured and acknowledged works in the Indian media persons with a fair and inclusive representation of the LGBTQ community. Awards were given out in 10 categories, with winners being awarded cash prize of Rs 5,000 each. Blued was the Principal Partner, and Queer Ink was the Gifting Partner of the event.
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