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I Am More Than My Gender Identity, No Label Would Ever Define Me

2018 will be considered a landmark year in the pursuit of equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. In a historic verdict, the Supreme Court of India partially struck down the colonial-era law, Section 377, which criminalized consensual gay sex.

While this verdict is monumental in many ways, it cannot immediately change society’s mindset. True inclusivity is only possible when people, irrespective of their gender identity or sexual orientation, are able to live a life of dignity and respect. The first step towards this would be to understand them, their situation and most importantly, see them as people and not just the labels that are forced on them so often.

Whilst the entire LGBTQ+ community faces a lot of challenges, let us, for now, focus particularly on the transgender community. Let’s face it: most of our resistance to accepting them as one of our own stems from the very little understanding we have of them and their lives. We, as humans, have a tendency to reject or develop a strong phobia for things we don’t understand. If we devoted some time and attention to understand the harsh realities of a trans person, we may become more empathetic and inclusive. Trauma and abuse are just some of the cruel realities that the trans person deals with right from childhood. The IndiaSpend survey of 2017 illustrates this. Of the 2,169 trans people surveyed, 816 revealed that they had faced sexual abuse in their lifetime. As many as 18% of them faced sexual abuse between the tender ages of 5 and 10. A staggering 68% of the respondents said they faced sexual abuse in their formative years, that is, between the ages of 11 and 15.

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Source: Swasti, Get The Data

Gender identity is just a part of what a person is and not a sum of what they are. Labelling an individual based on only this one facet can never define a person completely. In an attempt to drive the same message, Publicis.Sapient has joined hands with one of India’s oldest LGBTQ organizations, The Humsafar Trust. Under the campaign #PeopleNotLabels, a short film has been launched. The film, set in Bengaluru, gives the viewers a sneak peek into the lives of two trans people – Sowmya and Christy.

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In the film, the two protagonists speak about their lives, their individual journeys – how they came to terms with their true selves, the hardships they endured to remain true to themselves and finally their dreams, aspirations and their mutual love and respect for each other.

Source: The Logical Indian

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