We are led to question what ‘safety’ really is: Will it be guaranteed by going gently, if at all, into that good night? Is it at all possible to freely and safely explore who we are and the world in which we live?
Risk by itself is not a stigmatised subject, but sexuality is, and has been for generations. This has led to closeting, to shutting the door, on many necessary conversations about the risks to rights that millions of vulnerable individuals and many vulnerable communities live with, across the globe.
While highlighting safety from, media narratives often dismiss safety to: express oneself, be it through the way we identify and communicate, or through the body. Not only the spaces we access and the time of day we do so but also the way we perform our self-hood.
I had risked so much already, not just by loving another woman, but by acting on my desires. By allowing myself to feel intimacy and connection with another queer person. Despite feeling guilt and shame, this risk had become increasingly vital to take.
These two films were refreshing because they didn’t have the fairytale endings of girl-meets-boy, they fall in love, overcome difficult challenges and live happily ever after. Instead, they were set in everyday reality where life takes over and choices have to be made.
Shilpa Phadke reminds us that we have the right to choose to take risks and the responsibility to respect difference so that we can re-imagine public spaces, feel a sense of belongingness in them, and have them belong to everyone.