JUNE is Pride Month and I join the celebration of gender diversity. It is also a month to showcase the contributions of the LGBT community in nation-building and in every aspect of life. Moreover, it is a month to highlight issues and concerns faced by the LGBT community.
In the village, there are also members of the colorful rainbow. This means that LGBTs are everywhere and this should be recognized. Denying their existence is like making them not part of the community. A community that embraces gender diversity is what we all need.
In earlier times, the use of the terms “bakla and tomboy” were not used in the village to describe gender orientation. Instead, they used, naambabai, meaning female-like to describe a boy who likes to do female roles and prefers to be in the company of girls. The term “bakla” came in lately as influenced by the media and other institutions.
I do not recall anyone older who has come out proudly and lived his life according to his gender orientation in the village. I do not have a well-researched answer for this. But maybe the pressure of starting a family and living according to the community tradition have made the situation different.
For parents and community members, having someone being a member of the LGBT community is quite peculiar. They believe that no matter what orientation you have, you are expected to marry and start a family. Their premise is to have children to take care of you when you grow old. This is a pressure on the LGBT community in the village. But times are also changing. Staying single is also an option. There are a lot of baak in the village and therefore, LGBTs are not singled out.
In terms of gender discrimination, the village maintains its acceptance of all genders. Getting inheritance is gender blind whether you are a girl, boy or an LGBT. Despite this, there are areas that still need to be improved. One is the notion that LGBT should stop enhancing themselves to be more ‘girly’.
The village’s LGBT community includes farmers, students, and professionals. They are also engaged in different activities such as in business, crafts and others. LGBT members also participate in community affairs and activities. See, the LGBT community is just one of us, making the best in this life to survive and be part of a wider community.
As we celebrate Pride Month, let us be like the colors of the rainbow that when combined, becomes beautiful. No matter what our gender and color may be, the virtue of respect towards each other should be our way of life. This is our option and it can start today. Let us not only admire the rainbow after the rain but live a life that is full of rainbows. And in fact, a community where everyone thrives, has brighter rainbows.