“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”–Margaret Mead.
Men, women, and non-binary gender friends, it’s 2014. Do you think sexual and gender awareness can become a reality in Indian schools?
When three of us passionate students in Hyderabad put our thoughts and ideas together, the organization known as The Global Impact Projectwas born. And our current focus is none other than the giant taboo topic- LGBTQI Awareness in Indian Schools.
Do you remember the personal experiences of your school years? If you were coming to terms with your sexuality or gender identity in India, chances are, it wasn’t very easy for you. Living in India, society has its unlimited expectations about the life we should live.
But today, as students in this diverse nation, we have some plans of our own. ‘Gay’ was a term that we first heard when we were in 7th grade, and all it meant to us was ‘stupid’ or ‘useless’. Little did we know that the same word could mean stories of expression, harassment, bullying, ignorance, liberation, and much more, all of which starts in school, doesn’t it? With the gloomy forecast for equal rights in India for the LGBTQI community, we started to trace down the nasty branches of homophobia and transphobia to the grassroots level until we landed with our answer- schools in our nation need awareness programs!
It was about time we ditched the yaar, kaun sunega attitude and started to inspire a difference on our own initiative.
The Global Impact Project (TGIP) was born with the primary aim of connecting students with issues they could really make an impact on, such as bullying, homophobia and transphobia.
The situation in Indian schools is very polarized. While many students support LGBTQI rights whole heartedly and attend pride walks, advocating for equality, others take on the role of bullies, ridiculing people who engage in most types of self-expression. One of our biggest challenges is that many students and staff believe that LGBTQI issues are completely foreign to our schools and society in general, which is obviously not the case.
This sort of oppression makes it increasingly difficult for members of the LGBTQI community to come out of the closet, but the reality in schools is slowly changing, with more and more students coming out to their friends, and we see this as a positive harbinger for the future.
To take our plans forward, we’ve just launched our first open online submission-based challenge collecting ideas for LGBTQI awareness campaigns in our schools. Click here to participate in this challenge.
The Global Impact Project has been founded by Nikhil Jain, Payal Nagpal and Meghana Chilukuri.
- Voice Of The Youth: LGBTQI stories from the Classrooms - June 23, 2014