Growing up with a soft voice, in the Indian society, with a highly patriarchal social fabric, with heteronormativity ruling the discourse around gender is a challenge in itself. My exposure to the ways of society I live in, made me realize that each of us is facing some or other challenge in life, be it the hierarchical setup or ritual purity or pollution, social interdependence or family and kinship, caste or class.
Since very early childhood, I was inclined towards development work. Earlier these were just a few activities which later turned into passion. I started teaching children in slums at Paschim Vihar on weekends and later collaborated with Azad Yuva Ekta Club (Paschim Vihar), Lakshay Child and women welfare association (Udyog Nagar) and We for People (Subhash Nagar) (NGOs). I specifically focused on learning of kids and ran awareness programs for society in order to make them understand how they should speak up for themselves, asks for their rights to get equal access to resources be it education, healthcare, opportunities to express themselves and participate in decision-making process and later to work and above all inclusion in the society irrespective of caste, creed, colour, class or gender or any other socio-economic and political differences.
I used to integrate my college assignments back then with projects at different NGOs in order to contribute to society while learning. My stint at A.J.K Mass Communication Research Centre as Development Communication made me more curious to explore untouched areas and it was then that I started working for the deeply marginalized LGBTQIA+ community. It’s been almost two years now that I am working on projects aimed to provide access, opportunities and inclusion to LGBTQIA+ community. I have worked on a number of projects including research funded by UNAIDS on ‘Investigating the Impact of Exclusion and Discrimination on Health and Rights of Transgender in Delhi’.
As an ally and strong supporter of LGBTQIA+ community, I want to make people understand that to work for a cause, you necessarily don’t need to be a survivor of the same. I myself have been questioned a number of times for my orientation and sexuality and it didn’t affect me ever. Most of my friends on Facebook are from the LGBTQ+ community and that’s my way of mainstreaming gender. In fact, I believe things have been easier for me since the time I started gelling with them, by opening up new ways of living to me.
As a part of Keshav Suri Foundation and It Gets Better India, I am contributing to the mission of upliftment, empowerment and connecting LGBTQ+ youth of India to make it better, and I urge you all to accept the diversity around us. It’s to learn that beyond caste, colour, creed, religion, gender, sex what unites us all is humanity and that’s the foremost principle to make things better.