Writing on LGBTI: My experience from classroom to newsroom
Kathmandu (Pahichan) September 17 – In June this year, news relating to the forced change of sexual organ created a sensation. Mainstream broadsheet newspapers also published news in their front page. Several online and Youtube channels also provided sensational news on it.
According to news reports, Surendra Maal who was in India as migrant workers stated that his sexual organ was forcefully changed. This posed serious questions: who are the genuine sexual and gender minority? This created a sort of dilemma on how to understand this minority.
This also created confusion for the journalist like me who is covering LGBTI issues for the long time. Is it possible to delete your sexual identity if your sexual organ is forcefully cut? Is it possible to instill the feelings of girl and vice versa? These questions seriously stuck my mind. In this context, I consulted with Jyoti Thpa who is working in the field of LGBTI community.
She provided a clear picture saying that only the change of sexual organ cannot ensure the feelings and identity of third gender. She was of the view only cutting the sexual organ cannot ensure the feelings of girl. She was of the view that either Maal is not clear about his sexuality or he is hesitant to speak about it.
In my view, gender identity is a serious issue. It is not an easy task to disclose the identity as her the sexual organ. However, there is not proper knowledge in the society about the actual gender identity. I am one of them.
In the same month, Priya came to Kathmandu seeking justice. I was curious to know the actual issue. Then I talked with Chairman of Blue Diamond Society Pinky Gurung. According to Gurung, they consulted with Priya about her gender identity. Gurung was of the view that only change of sexual organ cannot create feelings of girl. After the consultation, Priya expressed the desire of staying in home so Gurung arranged some money for her travel.
When she reached home I called her. She said that she is gradually experiencing the feelings of girl. However she was known about such feelings because she had a girlfriend during school days. “Now, I have girl’s feelings, though I am at home, I am not in a position of coming out of home,” Priya said.
When Priya case was out, it drew the attention of everyone. But no one tried to understand the reality because society is not ready to understand LGBTI community. Our newsroom is familiar with LGBIT community but the issues they raise are very superficial. The coverage of news is related to their fashion, dress, and their body structure after the change of organ, about the breast and appearance of sexual organ. This means media is focused on unnecessary and non-sense issues.
Instead media should focus how this community can live with dignity, what are the prevalent obstacles to bring them in main stream, issues related to acquiring citizenship and issues related to same-sex marriage.
In my personal experience, writing on LGBTI is not serious considered in our newsroom. Even my journalist friend frequently ask: Why are you writing about this community? They raise questions about my sexuality. It is a duty of state to address concerns of minority.
In the classroom, our teachers used to say that we should service as a voice of voiceless people. I just wanted to implement the classroom knowledge into newsroom. If our school curricula address such issues, we would not face such problems.
The constitution has mentioned about sexual and gender minority. Who are they? What is their gender identity? There is not record of actual population of this community. It seems that state does not need this community.
There are several such questions. Priya is a just representative example. Several such characters are living in suppression. Now they should disclose their identity in national census. Media should knock the door of government to highlight the issues of this community.