To understand feelings and emotions, one must have a tolerant vision toward others
Kathmandu (Pahichan) July 21 – My research is based on Lesbian, Gay and Transgender (LGT). There is a reason behind this research. Many years ago, I did a campaign named “Maya Lai Bujhau # Love Is Never wrong” in an attempt to contribute to the fight against ignorance, stigmatization and discrimination against LGBTI community. I worked with the slogan “Maya Lai Bujhau” and choose to use the cityscape creatively and visually as a way of integrating a more nuanced view on love into everyday life of Kathmandu’s citizens.
I choose street art as a mode of expression. From this campaign, I got a very good chance to understand LGBTI people and their behavior so because of this I again chose a similar issue to know more about them and their changing behavior and emotions in a course of time. It will surely help me in life to understand more about human behavior and emotions.
My research topic is ‘Subjective Well-Being, Gender Identity Self-Stigma and Self –Concept Clarity among Lesbian, Gay and Transgender from Kathmandu valley.’ Subjective well-being means absense of illness, and it focused on happiness and satisfaction in one’s life. Gender identity self-stigma is defined as a personal conception of oneself as a male, female or neither, and are aware of public stigma, labeling and stereotypes, which they apply on themselves. Self-concept clarity refers to the way an individual considers, evaluates and understands who they are. My research is based on their relationship. From this research, very important results have been found.
First, for lesbians, when gender identity self- stigma level increases, subjective well-being also increases but for gays and transgenders, when gender identity self-stigma level increases, subjective well-being decreases. They have negative relationship. This means lesbians are found to have problem in their well-being whereas for gays and transgenders it is vice-versa. As transgenders and gays are easily identified by their behavior and life styles, they are found to be more open about their identity, and seem to cope with it compared to lesbians. Many organizations have also supported transgenders and gays, which also helped them to come out from their closet, and face the real world and situations. This definitely boosts their confident to work in a healthy environment, and have a healthy life style.
The conflict in mind, confusions, fear of rejection, stigma is the reason behind poor health issues. Lesbians have increased commitment to their sexual identity, and they also have a heightened sense of social alienation and feeling of aloneness. It is possible that those feelings hold them back from seeking partners and publicly coming out. Lesbians can easily hide their identity unless they express themselves. The fear of rejection, discrimination and isolation create conflict in the mind, and as a result it is affecting their well-being. Lesbian needs to make more connections with LGBT community to help them feel more normal, accompanying sense of belonging and acceptance, and they may feel more secure to come out.
Second, for gay when self -concept clarity level goes up to mid-level, subjective well-being increases but when self-concept clarity goes higher, then subjective well-being decreases. This means when gays are dependent on their family, they cannot choose their own life styles. The fear of rejection, discrimination and isolation holds them back to express themselves. They must have a hard time during their school life. As they were different from others, they must have gone through harassment, threats and violence by some if their non-LGBT peer. This is the reason why they have poor mental health, education and poor physical well-being. But when they are independent in life, and are able to handle their own situations and demands, they free themselves from many boundaries. This helps them to formulate who they are, and this helps to understand their emotions and desires, and also helps them to find other gays friends in order to have a healthy, improved life.
Third, for lesbians, when self-concept clarity increases, subjective well-being also increases, whereas for transgenders when self-concept clarity increases subjective-well being decreases. This is because, lesbians seem to have more confusion over sexual identity and are more unexpressive. The surpressed emotions and feelings lead them toward mental and physical illness. The poor health situation might have occurred from their early adolescence. When other teenage girls start talking about their male crush, they realize their emotions and of being different from other girls. The fear of rejection, bullying, discrimination and stereotypes create fear in them so they choose to hide their emotions rather than being expressive.
In our country Nepal, it is very hard for a woman to live independent life even though they are financially strong. They are not allowed to live and choose their own life until they get married. So many lesbians choose to hide their emotions just for the sake of their family status. Many choose to live lonely life rather than being with a partner so lesbians were found to be more unhappy and unexpressive compared to transgenders and gays. This effects their mental ability and physical health.
Talking about the transgenders, they are very much aware about themselves. As they are easily identified, it is easy for them to understand who they are and why they are different from others. This doesn’t mean that they never have a hard life. They are the ones who have gone through different difficulties and pain in life. They are not supported by their family members, but rather abandoned by them. As a result, they have to leave their home and wander around the streets. As being aware about different organizations supporting LGBTI people, they have found a new place where they get a chance to meet other transgender people. This also helps them to get a job, good company where they could share their emotions and feelings, and, as a result, there are improvement in their health and lifestyles.
Fourth, gender identity self-stigma seems to be more in transgenders because most of the transgenders are not comfortable and confident about themselves. So to meet their desires and expectations, they go through different hormonal changes. As their looks and behavior also give clear idea to other people about what they are because of which they face more discrimination, stigma and isolation than other sexual groups. Apart from this, transgender stigma works through multiple risk factors to impact multiple health outcomes as interpersonal and structural stigma are associated with inequities in employment, health care, and housing for transgender people compared to non-transgender people.
My research points to these four important results in the LGT population in Kathmandu valley. The main goal was to understand the relationship among Subjective Well-Being, Gender Identity Self-Stigma and Self –Concept Clarity and it deals with feelings and emotions. I believe that to understand feelings and emotions, one must have a tolerant vision toward others. If we have a tolerant vision, then only we can understand each-other to work together towards creating a better world and better selves.