We assign a newborn’s sex either as male or female, based on their genitals. Once the sex organs are assigned, we presume the child’s gender. A baby born with a penis is known to be a boy, and a baby with a vulva, a girl. But there are many people who do not identify strictly as a boy or a girl – they can be identified as both, or neither, or as another gender entirely. When someone’s gender expression is inconsistent with others’ expectations, they are frequently (and mistakenly) assumed to be homosexual. Many people face harassment on the basis of how they express their gender.
One day while I was coming back from my office, a 10 year old child from our society came to me and asked “Bhaiyya, can I ask you something?” I said “Yes.”
Child: “Are you a doctor?“
Me: “No, I am not a doctor. But you can ask me anything. I might be able to help you.“
Child: “Most of my friends harass me, and say that I behave like a girl. Am I a girl? Because doctor uncle told every person is 50% boy and 50% girl. I am confused as to who I really am.”
That night I was really upset as to how I should explain non-binary gender identity, not only to this child but to his family as well – what their child is going through and the things their child cannot discuss with them. There are many more incidents like these that I have seen, where people are harassed because of their gender and their sexual orientation.
The LGBTQ community in India still struggles, awaiting the social and constitutional justice it deserves. Amidst this, the community is tagged with many stereotypes filled with stigma. But individuals do not choose their gender, nor can they be made to change it, though the words someone uses to communicate their gender identity may change over time (for example, from using one term for a non-binary identity to another term for a different non-binary identity).
To raise awareness on these issues, the LGBTQ community in Delhi is coming together to Dance For Pride! We will dance to the indigenous beats of the dhol, which is in itself a unique way to put the thought forward and show the world who we are.
People from the LGBTQ community and straight allies will come together to demonstrate their pride. The event will be held on Saturday, April 8, at Hauz Khas Village. It will start with a freeze mob followed by a powerful dance. Dance for Pride will have its doors open for everyone who wants to join us, in solidarity with equality.
For more information on Dance for Pride, click here.