The LGBT community is into different activities that include interactive sessions with college students to create a better understanding

Lack of acceptance and recognition have always plagued LGBT's (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) ascendance but they are no more a silent community. They have found ways to create awareness among youths on this subject.

Often fingers are pointed towards society for discriminating LGBTs. But for most of them, discrimination begins at home. “It all starts with the parents, younger or elder siblings and friends. Once they accept you, then society has to follow suit,” says Asha Bharathi, a transgender and founder of Tamil Nadu Aravanigal Association.

Speaking at an interactive session on Third Gender Issues: Understanding Alternative Sexuality, organised by the ARM Bharathi Kanamma Trust and the American College Students Study Circle, she said that they did not want the society to brand them as LGBT. “We want people to treat us as fellow humans. It is lacking at the moment.”

She thanked the Tamil Nadu Government for creating an exclusive space in the gender column to get admissions into educational institutions.

Battling social prejudice, LGBTs also find it difficult to prove their mettle in the world. This has resulted in several interactive sessions in colleges where they try to create a better understanding of LGBT. “We need such space as we are trying our best to establish our credentials and remove the social stigma. We are forced to live in groups as we lack social security,” said R. Jeeva, transgender and founder, Aravanigal Urimaigal Sangam.

“Talking about LGBT itself is taboo, leave alone their rights. They have been subjected to sexual harassment and have been objects of sexual abuse. This has to go. We are fighting for their rights. We are also involved in creating awareness on this subject,” says M. Gopi Shankar, founder, Sristi, an organisation working for LGBT rights.

In an effort to provide proper sex orientation, Sristi travels to villages from Vadipatti to Palani educating people on this subject. “We have identified several individuals but still find it difficult to bring them out. As there is no proper documentation we are working on a book that looks into the sociological, anthropological, scientific and religious perspective and also shares about contemporary LGBT movement,” he says.

Sristi Srishti is the first LGBT resource circle of Madurai and Coimbatore. It has also planned to organise the rainbow festival and pride march in Madurai showcasing achievements of the community, besides involving in activities that include counselling sessions for parents and sexual orientation class for school and college students.

Srishti has started a separate Queergender circle. Growing awareness on this subject has resulted in people recognising their efforts and supporting their cause. “We have a strong network of LGBT supporters who stand by us and help us in all our endeavours,” says Gopi Shankar.

It has paved the way for participation in the international queer film festival, ‘Kashish', in Mumbai. Probably for the first time, it will have two entries, a short film and a documentary, from Madurai this year.

People from over 40 countries are expected to participate in the mainstream LGBT film festival in which more than 110 films will be screened between May 23 and 27.

The short film ‘He ‘n' He', made by K. Thiru Karthick, a visual communication student of the American College revolves around the central theme that love is not only blind but also does not see any gender identity. Music for this film is scored by David Bonk, German pianist while K. Saravanan is the cinematographer. Senthil Vignesh and Ram Kumar have performed as ‘He ‘n' He' in this 20-minute short film.

The two-minute documentary titled ‘Inhuman' by N. Basheer Khan, another visual communication student of the college, talks about people who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of LGBTs.

Gender queer falls outside the gender binary which include several diversity of people like

BIGENDER: moving between male and female genders.

PANGENDER: a term used to describe people who feel that they cannot be labeled as male or female in gender. As such it has a great deal of overlap with genderqueer. Pangender people feel that they do not fit into binary genders, instead identifying as mixed gender (both male and female) or as a third gendered

ANDROGYNY: a person who does not fit cleanly into the typical masculine and feminine gender roles of their society

GENDERFLUID: moving between genders

AGENDER: agenderism, the division of people into women and men, in the psychical sense, is erroneous and artificial. It negates the biological sex as a carrier of specific features and tendencies of personality.