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'Indian Matchmaking's Pradhyuman Maloo Calls Out Those Gay Rumors

Indian Matchmaking

The reality star rightfully blasted their problematic nature.

In quarantine -- honestly, this used to happen out of quarantine as well -- at times culture can seem like all of Twitter bingeing one Netflix show after another. Tiger King, Love Is Blind, Selling Sunset, the list goes on. And while many of those shows have caused much discussion, an Indian Matchmaking star is critiquing some of the rhetoric around his appearance.

On Indian Matchmaking, professional matchmaking Sima Taparia helps (or tries to) young single Indians find someone to marry. And while the show has been criticized for classism as well as colorism, there was one round of commentary that was honestly just as problematic. On the series, 30-year-old designer Pradhyuman Maloo is a single bachelor who has turned down over 150 possible matches. the internet immediately began to posit that he was gay or otherwise queer. After a whole lot of online conversation, in late July Maloo addressed the speculation.

"And for those of you who are curious -- I am not gay nor bisexual." he wrote to Instagram in a bit of a FAQ post. But the post did little to dampen the noise. Now, in a Humans of Bombay post, Maloo has spoken out about the problematic nature of the assumptions.

"Last year, when I got a call from Netflix about a matchmaking show that highlighted Indian culture, I took a leap of faith and agreed; I thought it'd be a different experience," he wrote after explaining how he developed and nurtured a love for all things creative working with his mom on her jewelry business. "But 80 hours of filming had been condensed into a 60-minute, predetermined, edited storyline, which ignited thousands of comments on the internet.

"Shortly after the show was released a friend alerted me that I was trending on Twitter, with hundreds of people debating my sexuality," Maloo continued. "Unsolicited comments assumed I was gay or bisexual & urged me to come out of the closet. I felt anger & resentment, but I gained my composure and questioned their reasoning. I tried to understand the mindset of a 'hater', only to realize that they'd based their assumptions on my interests in fashion, cooking, and the societal pressure of taking time to choose a life-partner. All I could think of was, 'Are men not supposed to be creative?', 'Are men not supposed to like fashion?', 'Can men not cook?', 'Do only women belong in the kitchen?'"

And it's true. We have had many conversations about the gendering of nongendered acts. It's a toxic mentality that helps to fuel homophobia among other things. And while it can seem funny and cute for retweets, it's ultimately harmful to anyone who steps outside of the problematic and supposedly idealized norm.

"I'm straight, but I'm being stereotyped due to a deep-seeded mindset of Indian society," Maloo continued. "I even thought of the alternate scenario: What if the person in question really was gay? What if they'd been forced out of the closet with no consent of their own? That thought frightened me. Were these haters ready to take the blame for the consequences of their words? As a society we have belittled the LGBTQ community by using them as a tool of mockery." His point echoed one that Shawn Mendes previously made when he was beset by gay rumors.

"This last month has made me introspect on how the world perceives men," he wrote. "People will judge you for not being 'manly' enough, but I want other men to know that it's okay to be who you are & do what you love. Stereotypical masculinity is not the rent we need to pay to exist in this world. I just have one question, 'Can men not be beautiful?'"

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