My friends, my choice: Upholding dignity for LGBT community

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I realised that their friendship has helped me broaden my horizon, and in turn, being accepting of my LGBT friends has helped me enhance my life and well-being

When I first joined Alliance India in 2010, I hardly knew any person who is from the LGBTQ community (or openly identified themselves as LGBTQ), and had definitely not worked in close quarter with any of them. Their world was completely new to me.

Alliance India is an inclusive organisation, and many of my colleagues identified themselves as L, G, B or T. Slowly, as my work expanded, I started interacting with my colleagues. As work load increased and meeting extended into lunches, colleagues became friends, and soon I was sharing my stories and life experiences with Simran, Yash, and Rahul. They are today, few of my closest friends.

I remember talking about Simran with my mother and grandparents. It was remarkable to see how they welcomed and accepted her when she first visited my house. Till today, my grandmother is big fan of her.

Recently, I was invited by Yash as a panelist for the Swabhiman – LGBT Acceptance Meet, which was organised by The Humsafar Trust, in collaboration with American Center, on the occasion of Pride month in Delhi. This event was a platform for young LGBT members who wished to come out, and their families (close and extended), colleagues, friends, teachers and other straight allies to come and share their stories and journeys of acceptance.

I would have never thought anyone would be interested in hearing my views or experience and how I felt about my friends.  But as the audience asked me questions about my experience, working with them, I realised that their friendship has helped me broaden my horizon, and in turn, being accepting of my LGBT friends has helped me enhance my life and well-being.

I really enjoyed answering everyone’s questions. A few people from the audience even wanted to take my business card and pictures with me! I hope and believe that my story of acceptance, has helped in building acceptance of LGBT people all around us, because liberty and justice for all needs to be upheld at all times and all countries.

The author of this blog is Ramandeep Kaur, Officer: Executive Support at India HIV/AIDS Alliance

 

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