Controversy’s favourite child, actor Veena Malik has raised eyebrows by boldly announcing her support for same-sex marriages. In a statement issued on Friday, Malik said “I openly support the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community and I don’t feel shy about doing it.”

Following the footsteps of starlets Kim Kardashian and Lady Gaga, who recently voiced their support for homosexuality, Malik justified her stance by asking, “If US President Barack Obama and Hollywood beauties can stand up for gay marriage, why can’t every citizen support this cause?”

Malik’s move to Bollywood has made her bolder; one controversial photoshoot and hot item number later, she feels “every person has the right to live their life” without interference.

Anti-gay sentiment is widely prevalent in Pakistan, where the subject is considered taboo and has often sparked outrage. In India, however, the government has legalised gay sex despite conservative elements wanting it banned.
When Malik shared the news of her pro-LGBT stance on micro-blogging site Twitter, the more liberal members on the social media forum applauded her. One person reacted to Malik’s statement by posting “Way to go! LGBT people are loving and caring human beings who deserve happiness, love and acceptance!”, while another wrote: “This is why I love her.” Some claimed that she was the first Pakistani celebrity to openly support gay unions.

The more conservative quarters, however, expressed their indignation by using profanities. “She is taking all the shortcuts to become famous,” read one post.

In the same spirit of candidness, Malik has also reacted to veteran Indian actor Hema Malini’s comment that top heroines should avoid item numbers.

“Heroines should not shy away from them (item songs),” said Malik at the music launch of her debut Hindi film Daal Mein Kuch Kaala Hai in Mumbai.

“An item song is a huge responsibility,” she added. “Sometimes the whole film depends on an item song.”

Malik has also signed the Telugu version of the Bollywood hit The Dirty Picture and is set to feature in Hindi movies Mumbai 125 km and Zindagi 50-50.