‘Let’s talk Gender’ by Abhishek Ashish Mukhia

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According to a sociologist , ‘ Gender refers to cultural differences (expected by society / culture ) of a man and women related to sex . A person’s sex does not change from birth , but their gender can ‘ .

We live in a modern age . Everything moves at a great speed . A society cannot be kept in a museum to preserve it . It is changing everyday and is open to changes . Have you ever sat down calmly and thought beyond he or she ? Did you just put people into boxes in a relation with their sexual orientation ? Among men and women there are so many people who identity themselves as someone or something . It’s just that they live a closet life . They don’t breathe the air of freedom due to social stumbling blocks , peer pressure and family fears . They belong to the LGBTQIA community . Now let me describe each of the terminologies for a clear understanding . A lesbian refers to a girl who has a feeling or affections for another girl . The girl may look feminine or boyish (tomboy ) as in most cases . A gay is a manly or a girlish guy who develops affections for another guy . This has led to marriage in most foreign countries like USA , UK , France , Switzerland , etc . Bisexual means a man in love with another man and a woman simultaneously . Transgender refers to when a man undergoes a sex reassignment surgery to become a woman and vice versa . The word ‘ queer ‘ refers to a homosexual person be it a boy or a girl who is not a cisgender or heterosexual . The words ‘ intersex and asexual ‘ has been added recently to the umbrella term ‘ LGBTQ ‘
( it was called previously ) . An intersex person has the genital organs of both man and woman . It is a serious issue usually . Asexual means a man or a woman devoid of sexual feelings . Although they may have a beloved but they divert their mind from a sexual intercourse .

The LGBTQIA community are spread over large parts of India mainly in South and North . Kerala is the first state to have identified ‘transgender’ as a third sex . Sikkim is the least populated state in India . The people from different walks of life dwell here like fringes on a petticoat . Today we focus on the lifes of the Sikkimese . Who knows among manly behaviour of a boy there may be a gay feeling inside of him ? They say , ‘ People are strange in their own ways ‘ . Being a resident of Jorethang , South Sikkim I have seen boys who are feminine . They are called by names( chakka or hizra are common ) . Everybody except their parents avoid them . They are treated like a disease . Is this humanity ? Where are the fellow feelings for one another ? So what if he is a gay ? There’s no problem with him but with your mentality and thought process . Apart from this , I’ve many friends who are lesbians from Sikkim and it’s adjoining areas . I call them my ‘ boyfriends ‘ for they have heroic courage and are much smarter than most of the so called straight guys . I have noticed men especially ‘ Sikkimese ‘ who swing both ways . There was a man who used to live nearby a restaurant in Sikkim ( I would not want to name the place and the person ) . After being rejected by the girl of his heart , he fell in love with the owner of the restaurant . When asked why , he said that love just happens . Love sees no gender . He added that he was a proud bisexual . Tenzing Mariko is the first transgender woman of Tibet who spents most of the time at Gangtok , Sikkim . She is an inspiring figure for other members of the LGBTQIA community . Shemales and cross dressers exist in Sikkim but they don’t come out in public with the fear of being criticised and beaten up mercilessly . They aren’t against the laws of nature . It’s just that they are born in a wrong body and they have an equal right to express themselves . Intersexual people have not be discovered yet but with the passage of time they would come in the limelight . Asexual people are found in abundance at different parts of Sikkim such as Namchi , Pelling , Soreng , Ravangla , Jorethang and many more . With the decriminisation of Article 377 on 6 September 2018(which stated that gay sex is unnatural and punishable under law ) the citizens have become thoughtful on this matter yet it lacks moral support and guidance . We witnessed the first ever queer parade at Gangtok , Sikkim on 27 January 2018 . Very few people joined in the parade but others were too shy to come out of the closet . Was that because their parents and relatives had not accepted them the way they were ? Did they chose not to take part in it so that their sexual orientation would come out open in the public ? The show was organised by Rainbow Hills Association , a non government organisation of Sikkim who was able to raise the rainbow flag high on the sky as a celebration of the long struggle of LGBTQ people . Amidst all the insecurities and confusion , the event was a memorable and the talk of the town . The audience had their eyes balls quivered while watching them in fancy attires , pink dreses and heard them sing joyfully . Such programmes are expected in the future . Pawan Chamling , an honourable Chief Minister of Sikkim for more than a decade talked about gender acceptance in his speech at a political function . He is the first and the foremost chief minister who dealt on this matter . He discussed that the LGBTQIA community should be accepted with open arms . This inturn lifted and motivated the spirits of all . Yet there are people who don’t understand the feelings of a homosexual . They fail to envelope him or her in a circle of warmth and care . When will they realise that being a gay is a matter of choice ? It’s ones gender , a personality and a manifestation of being alive .

‘ If I’m a homosexual and if you’re a heterosexual , it’s just a sexual inclination ‘ . We have to stop labelling people and pry the bars apart . Who are we to judge them on the basis of their sexuality ? The need of hour is to delve , review and analyse things . If we accept aliens from another planet then we must definitely accept and love LGBTQIA people who live along with us in the same planet . Let us be thoughtful , knowledgeable and supportive when it comes to beyond he and she .

By Abhishek Ashish Mukhia

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