Fri, 19 Apr, 2019

Looking for a rainbow in every cloud

The landmark verdict on Article 377 brought a number of people from the community out in the open, and in social media too. Here are a few who spoke to TG LIFE

09th September 2018, 03:42 Hrs

Basil Sylvester Pinto 

Take Me As I Am,” read out Chief Justice, in a landmark 377 verdict on Thursday defying the British era decree which had four other Supreme Court Judges nod their heads in mutual consent. Thus in effect decriminalizing consensual sex of the same gender and in its wake bringing out the relief and rejoice within the LGBTQ community of a brighter tomorrow to a new rainbow nation.  

The judgment brought a number of people from the community out in the open, and in social media too. But it also gave reason to understand there is still much to be done to safeguard the interest of the LGBTQ umbrella so it can bring much more visibility to their rainbow.  

Twenty-year-old Rishabh Chodankar while hailing the judgement as shocking yet surreal mentioned it was just a stepping stone. “There are a lot of bigger concerns that homophobics have to deal with. They should not live in the fear of being abused or hated. There should be a hate crime in place towards LGBTQ,” voiced the Hotel Management student.  

“I was 16 when I began to figure out who I actually am. There were two friends, Keeran and Prachi that helped me in my emotional journey towards self-acceptance. When I first told my family I was gay, they brushed off the statement as a phase and that I will get over it. And they stopped acknowledging the fact,” disclosed the Porvorim resident.  

“While I was in my final year of High School, I recall an incident which put me back. “The principal came up to me in class to say that gay is a bad word and a mental disorder. In lieu, they should educate the children when they are young on their orientation so that they accept themselves as they are,” Chodankar stated.  

Alex Fernandez, a Socorro resident and founder of Goa Rainbow Trust had this to reveal. “It was somewhere around 2007 when I was about 20; that I opened up to my family but given to familial non acceptance I had to run away. My family tried to force me to get married to a girl, but I was very clear to fight for what I am – a gay who is proud and loud. I later came back. My mom knew about me from childhood but was waiting for me to open up. My late dad, despite being an educated person was against it. My boyfriend and I got quietly engaged three months back. His entire family does not know yet. We are trying to educate them. My boyfriend is still pursuing his college education, and I have given him time. Later, we shall decide what has to be done. He lives in Mumbai and I keep travelling up and down,” he said. “Though 377 has been scrapped, it is only a baby step. It has not given us the rights for same sex marriage. There is a lot yet to be done. It is just like how India gained its independence and was divided into various States,” he mentioned.  

For Chris Fernandes, a pet groomer and LGBTQ activist, the recent ruling did not matter as much. “I was out of the closet long ago though it has to be said we are still fighting for the welfare of our community. Nobody has the right to tell us who to be with for the rest of our lives, once we turn major and are financially stable,” she announced.  

“Along with Alex Fernandez, we are getting a trust organized where we are looking at the bigger picture. We will be going to colleges and talk to the gays and lesbians who need someone to open up to. There are many from the community committing suicide. The younger generation needs a platform which will provide them support. We are starting an LGBTQ helpline soon to help them with our counsel,” the Mapusa resident concluded. 

(Goa Rainbow Trust will organize their second Pride Walk on October 27 from Maquinez Palace to Miramar beach  from 2-5pm) 

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