The latest to be evicted from reality show Bigg Boss 5, transgender activist Laxmi Narayan Tripathi says she was voted out because the audience could not accept a member of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community in the show.
"Mera ghar se nikalna toh society ki baat hai. Shayad wohi (viewers) nahi chaahte they LGBT community ke member ko show mein dekhna. We need to change pubic perception towards the gay community," says Laxmi.
She maintains though, that there was only a little discrimination inside the Bigg Boss house. "There was an incident where Sky brought up my gender and said I was from the sexual minority, and it was very upsetting. Then I had to tell him, and he became more sensitive. So there was no discrimination as such. I got love from everyone," says the 32-year-old.
Gay rights activists are divided on her claim. "I have watched many episodes of the show and could not spot discrimination, in fact people used to call her Rajmaata and all. But if she is saying that she was evicted for this reason, then I think it’s really unfair and wrong," says Betu Singh of Sangini, a Delhi-based LGBT welfare group.
"Transphobia is everywhere, and so was it in the house ... but I am sure that this was one of the reasons and not the only reason for her eviction," says activist Ashok Row Kavi.
Author-activist Saleem Kidwai feels that her appearance on the show is itself a testimony to the viewers’ maturity: "I don’t watch the show, so I don’t know what happened inside the house. But getting someone from the community was a good move in the first place and generated curiosity."
Some feel it’s a case of sour grapes. "An eviction is always unfair to the one evicted, and he or she will to come up with the strongest reason to blame it on. I don’t think hers is true," says Anuja Singhal, 29, a viewer. Officials from the host channel, Colors, say the voting isn’t in their hands.