We Live on a Rainbow: IDAHOT 2015

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“None of us should face discrimination based on what we are or whom we love.”
— Max Baucus, US Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, 2014

Since the Indian Supreme Court’s judgment in April 2014 recognizing the rights of the country’s Third Gender, a tiny if growing section of mainstream society is slowly starting to understand the complexities of sexuality and gender identity. There is still a long, long way to go, and the Government of India has made virtually no progress in satisfying the demands of the ruling itself to protect and support transgenders.

Driven by the same court’s recriminalization of homosexuality in 2013, violence and discrimination towards LGBT Indians has increased and remains a harsh reality in our schools, workplaces, clinics and society at large. Sexual and gender minorities are still actively exclued and margilized from the responsibilities, privileges and opportunities of full citizenship, and we must overcome substantial and deep-rooted obstacles that stand between us and the transformative change that is so urgently needed.

On May 17th each year, International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) celebrates gender and sexual divesities across the world and supports the recognition of human rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity. The day brings attention to the ongoing violence and discrimination experienced by non-gender conforming, trans- and same-sex identifying people everywhere.

On the occasion of IDAHOT 2015, let’s re-commit ourselves to fight against these oppressions still manifest across the world and work to ensure for safety and survival of our communities. The policing and judging of gender identities and sexualities beyond the binary hurts not only trans* and queer people.

Everyone suffers as we are pushed into narrow boxes of identity. None of us really fit there, in all our human complexity. We don’t live in boxes. We live on a rainbow.

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The author of this post, Simran Shaikh, is a hijra activist and Programme Officer for Pehchan at India HIV/AIDS Alliance in New Delhi.

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