In India, parents traditionally collect jewellery for their child’s wedding, beginning early in life. This is why an ad by Bhima Jewellery has gone viral in India because, instead of following the customary wedding narrative, it instead depicts the journey of a trans woman as she moves towards the same end goal.
’Pure as Love’ is a beautifully shot tale of a brooding boy transforming into a confident young woman with the full, loving support of her family.
Created by Delhi-based agency Animal, the film is shot in Kerala, which serves as a vibrant backdrop. It introduces a young, brooding child seen receiving two gold anklets, gifted by his parents who crowd around in support, clutching his hand encouragingly.
As the protagonist starts experimenting with makeup and clothes, she accumulates more and more jewellery, and begins to prepare for marriage. Throughout the ad, she has the full loving support of her family – there are no scenes where the protagonist is shown to be a victim.
When the Supreme Court of India decriminalised homosexuality 2019, it paved the way for Asian countries to follow its lead on LGBT+ rights. However, two years later, progress is dwindling. Same-sex couples are still fighting for the right to marry, while India’s trans rights bill has been widely condemned. So ads like ’Pure as Love’ are so welcome.
Despite the slow progress, a number of equally progressive ads precede ’Pure as Love’, with the LGBT+ community turning to brands to inject their story into popular culture in a way that reflects an acceptance of alternate sexuality.
Indian fashion e-commerce company, Mynta, paved the way with a piece of work that showed a lesbian couple preparing to meet the parents. Intending to avoid stereotypes associated with LGBTQ+ people, the ad instead showed two women in a live-in relationship who candidly talk about their day ahead, while displaying their love for each other, without having to spell out the fact that the two are in a relationship.
Another brand that leads the way in India is Vicks. Its ’Generations of Care’ campaign had a mission to tell evocative stories that inspire a change in people and recognise, applaud and support real people with extraordinary stories.
One film in the series, ‘Family is where Care is’ went viral. It portrayed the real-life story of an orphan and her newfound ’mother’ – a transgender woman. In 2014, India declared transgender people to be a ‘third gender’ and so the campaign saw the orphaned girl Gayatri tell her story of the challenges that her adoptive mother faces from the rest of society.
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: 'Pure as Love '