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Beyond the gender bias

India, a country where homosexuality is challenging but still today’s Indian youth are more accepting than any other age group. But again, there are certain limitations to that as well. LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community is still looked down at and is not treated with respect like the male or female gender, in the society.

Even today, LGBT remains a taboo in the Indian society and coexisting with the fact of being a transgender is distressing to many.  Bangalore- based -21 year old transgender woman Shilok Mukkati, studied Psychology and Journalism from Jain University and has been struggling for being looked at differently in the city. She is a RJ with Radio Active 90.4 community radio service and has conducted popular programmes on LGBT community, called Yarivaru. She also volunteered for several other programs on Queer Habba’s special Episode, Lesbians In shadow and Origin of Lesbians etc. Other than this, she is a poet and also a contemporary and a classical dancer.

Shilok currently runs a show called ‘Colourful Kamanabillu’ and has further gone ahead to win the National Award from the Ministry of information and broadcasting, Government of India. She started her journey as a poet with Open sky, a platform for the new artist within you, where ‘Open Sky’ is the limit.

Shilok Mukkati – the interview


Being a transgender, how do you think that writing and the poetry helped you?
It has helped me in several ways, I initially  began my writing as a poet for a program for women and I began writing in Kannada and even now, I still continue writing in Kannada and  later  translate some poems in English.  My mother has always been a support to me for writing in general but she never supported me in writing for the LGBT community. 

After being a RJ what changes you have noticed, what is the kind of response that you get from the audience?
The show which I’m doing is for the Kannada audience and with writing for this show which is regarding the gender and the celebration of sex & sexualities with the mystical space. The response from this show is amazing, with this show, I talk to various people and interview my own community, our right, thought, style. 

In India, although we have our right for homosexual community but still people have different mentalities for your community. What you can say about role of the government for this in protecting rights of the homosexual community?
I am very skeptical regarding the game of law, government and policy. It is only when United Nations and World Health Organization asked government to support us with certain rights; government did it only for the sake of it. But on the other hand, we cannot neglect the other part that there are so many experts who are doing lot of work to change the definition of transgender. 

Many transgender faces violence at the public place. Have you ever faced any violence in public?
I was staying as a paying guest in Bangalore, where I have faced harassment. The boys used to stop my two wheeler and bully me in public places. This was too disturbing for me and then eventually I left that place. 

There are around 6 lakhs transgender in India, according to census report 2011. In Urban India, where social media has created awareness aboutLGBT rights still this community is still striving hard to get recognition.  There are transgenders around India who have been harassed and exploited sexually and mentally.

These people unlike any other gender, ought to be treated with dignity. They do not need sympathy but acceptance.












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