In India, Crossdressing is being practised for ages now and art forms like dance, music and theatre have intersectionality with crossdressing. Crossdressing is artistry for some and just some movements of pleasure for another. Art forms like Drag have always been a way to express oneself through cross-dressing.
Big Boss Telugu is highest-grossing reality show endorsed by Star TV featuring actor Nagarjuna as the host. In the recent task, we see that the housemates were given a task to cross-dress into different gender roles. A similar task which was adopted from Big Boss Kannada. The host claims that this was to encourage gender equality but failed drastically as it's hurtful and stigmatic. Here are the top five reasons of how Big Boss failed to achieve what it promised otherwise.
· Cisgender men and women using derogatory words against LGBTQIA+ Community
The host Nagarjuna starts with says” Chi Chi Chi kucho , Cudalekapotunam ninu” to a cisgender man dressed up in women’s clothing. These words clearly show Drag phobia when a man transverses into women’s clothing. It's quite easy to say as a cis man to another cis man but hard to see the reality on how this can induce hatred for a queer person whose gender expression is to cross-dress while people being inspired by this and mock their approach.
· Using Trans Phobic words which mock gender diaspora
Gender dysphoria is indeed in real and it's always a traumatic experience for trans people. however, in the show, a participant easily says that “Nenu yento nake ardamavatamledu” which means “I don’t know what I am”. This statement is cliche and transphobic as it ridicules the idea of gender dysphoria and mocks the struggle which a trans person goes through.
· Caricaturing Sissy-ness and abbreviated feminine expressions by the participants.
Majority of the participants are overly exaggerating sissy-ness or effeminate expression forgetting that they are cisgender people and there are people on real whose normal way of expression is quite effeminate. Indirectly the program is here to creating laughter out of the experience of homosexual, gender fluid and non-confirming men’s expression. Such kind of ideology when shown to a larger audience pool, creates a nightmare for the real people of queer community where the show is shown as a reference point to make it normalize queer mocking, as it brings the notion that “if Nagarjuna can say it, why can't i”
· Demoralizing Women
The intent to create awareness was so sidetracked so much that the entire cacophony is degrading women itself for whom this idea was made. Men dressing up as women stripping on national television and rubbing thigs is fulgurous and humiliating women. Its shows the patriarchal pervert-ness of men towards woman’s body. There were dialogues used for Pun, such as “Adukena atannu niku wrong step nerpinchadu” is a blatant double meaning and c grade words which are excruciating.
· Confusing with the idea of trans-sexuality and crossdressing
Not every man who dresses as women are transgender person, some participants were clapping as a transgender person towards each other. Crossdressing has nothing to do with transgender identity. A man can cross-dress as women for self-pleasure, art, for sexuality or fetish but trans identity is not a choice. these actions are indeed a direct insult thrown towards the trans community.
· Usage of Problematic songs such as “Chudu Pinnama”
Songs like Chudu Pinnama, from a Telugu movie which is cringing and hurtful in itself being played in the background, is so disturbing. This song in originality was to make fun of the transgender women or the hijzada community and using the same song here make it even more inappropriate. While Telugu states themselves lacking in acceptance of lgbtqia+ people, where hate crimes are in peek and transphobia still being a thing such kind of irresponsible portal is just unacceptable.
So for people who want to know about what it means. Cross-dressing is the act of wearing items of clothing not commonly associated with one's sex. Cross-dressing has been used for purposes of disguise, comfort, and self-expression in modern times and throughout history. Crossdressers are most certainly welcome and to a very large extent are part of the LGBTQ+ community. They are trans or TG and sometimes also fit under other letters as well. Many who eventually transition experiment with gender and the idea of a new life by crossdressing. It can be a very real part of a transitional process.
Many men love to dress but have been taught to be deeply ashamed of this activity. Transphobia and homophobia can run deep even in people who are part of the community. These men deny any association with anything they perceive as even vaguely homosexual. It is this group that rather uniquely disavows their place under the LGBTQ+ umbrella. Shows such as Big Boss Telugu are not firstly open to include drag performers, transgender people and queer people in the show but also inducing hate through such not so well understood concepts is traumatic for queer individuals.