On IDAHOBIT 2018, three stories that underscore the need for a perspective shift on gender, sexuality

"Hi, I'm Diti, and I identify as a transmasculine person," says the chirpy individual looking up at the camera. Then Diti goes on to list all the problems with identifying as a transmasculine person — mainly to do with the expectations about masculinity: you have to act a certain way, not gesticulate too much with your hands, avoid make-up and heels, and definitely not be attracted to another man.

Diti helps run The Glass Closet, as part of a research project at TISS, Mumbai, which documents everyday discriminations faced by individuals on the basis of non-normative gender or sexuality. "Yeah, unfortunately I'll never be considered a 'true' man," Diti says.

Diti's is one of the many stories Point of View is bringing forward though a series called 'Life, Actually' — part of their campaign for International Day Against Homophobia Biphobia and Transphobia (aka IDAHOBIT). IDAHOBIT2018 is being observed on 17 May.

Diti explains what it is to be transmasculine:


Growing up, Alok always loved watching Anil Kapoor's songs and films when they were aired on television. Alok realised that he was attracted to the handsome, moustached star; he says he felt like kissing Anil when watching him on screen. Alok, now 29, has found a partner — a friend who works as a farmer. "We are quite romantic. We kiss. I also love having conversations with him. We're able to discuss what's happening in our lives, our sorrows, with each other," Alok says.

Here's Alok's story, in his own words:


The red sari-clad figure on stage executes the thumkas perfectly, ghungroo-wrapped feet keeping perfect time to the music. A long ghooghat obscures the dancer's face; as the rhythm rises to a crescendo, the dancer throws off the veil, and we're introduced to Imtiyaj.

"I love dancing and whenever I go for a competition, I wear a sari," Imtiyaj says. Imtiyaj, who is part of the NGO Sangram's Muskaan collective in rural Maharashtra, says: "Just like some boys like playing cricket, I like dancing in a sari. People don't mind my dancing on stage in saris, but when I get off they ask me weird questions. Now I answer them in a way that they can't say anything back."

Imtiyaj talks about their passion for dancing: 


And here's a message from Godrej India Culture Lab head Parmesh Shahani, on why IDAHOBIT is such an important initiative:

Point Of View builds and amplifies the voices of women and other marginalised genders and sexualities. POV's work focuses on sexuality, disability and technology.

A note from POV: We're currently creating 'open' content (which means we're not putting logos or other marks of ownership on any of this material) for this campaign and would love it if you'd join. We see this as a campaign that any individual or organisation can participate in, for all of us who believe that #queerlivesmatter and #translivesmatter. If you want to contribute you can write in to idahobit2018@gmail.com.

Updated Date: May 17, 2018 18:40:47 IST