CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu Rainbow Coalition, along with LGBT rights organisations, Snegithi and Sahodaran, put together a youth sensitisation programme with a generous doses of song and dance to mark its eighth anniversary.
“It’s important to create sensitivity among the youth towards the LGBTQI community because they can carry it to their neighbours, friends and relatives,” said Ram, event coordinator and volunteer, Sahodaran.
Members of the LGBTQI community spoke about their experiences of coming out against all odds. “When I told my parents I was gay, they sent me on a scholarship to London where I stayed for 10 years,” said Ram. He seemed to have had it easy, considering the plight of some others who mustered up the courage to come out of the closet, only to be pushed back into it.
“Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code criminalizes homosexual intercourse. How will people have the courage to come out as long as colonial laws like this exist,” asks Shankari of Nirangal, another organisation that fights for LGBT rights.
It’s during the ages of 12-16 that adolescents begin to understand they are different from other girls or boys of their age, Shankari said. “When parents find out, they leave no stone unturned to change the way their children behave. Some are even given hormonal injections that affect their bodies,” she added.
On a lighter note, she narrated an incident where one of her transgender friends received a shocking medical report where her uterus was declared normal. “She looks like a woman but was born a male and only has male reproductive organs. Awareness needs to be raised among doctors first,” she said. The LGBT activists also expressed displeasure at being labelled the ‘third sex’.
“We don’t understand the logic behind this. What is the first gender, then? Male? They’ve given us a consolatory third position, haven’t they?” Shankari asked.