What American Sitcoms Taught India About Homosexuality

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What American Sitcoms Taught India About Homosexuality

Illustration: Shruti Yatam

T

he first time I met a gay person was on screen, when Jack McFarland from Will & Grace “fabulous”-ed his way around my TV. Prior to this, my sister and I were exposed to routine afternoon programming, in the form of bog-standard shows like Santa Barbara and Bold and the Beautiful, thanks to our insomniac Ma. We graduated to F.R.I.E.N.D.S. like all ’90s’ kids, but it wasn’t until Will & Grace that I understood a little about the LGBTQ community.

The incorrigible Jack McFarland, played by actor Sean Hayes, had me hooked to the show. A flamboyant, free-spirited and supremely confident gay character, Jack is best friends with the much subtler gay protagonist Will Truman, and is the reason Will has any confidence in his sexual identity. Will’s roommate and best friend, the straight Jewish woman Grace, treats gay Will as the voice inside her head, often depending on his rock-like presence in her life after break-ups and losses. I’d found two gay men I instantly liked: Jack with his singing, dancing, and Cher obsession could even be my spirit animal.

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