CBO Exposure Visit

Sexuality doesn’t determine personality. The LGBT population in our country is constantly threatened by rigid social norms and the society’s narrow mindset. They are vulnerable to discrimination and stereotypes of sorts that hinders their individualistic development. People have not openly accepted them yet, though there has been a change in perspective regarding the acceptance of an individual’s sexual preferences. But it is not enough if only a section of the population understands this minority and supports them. Everyone needs to come together to support them because we are all born the same and they are not to be considered abnormal under any circumstance. To infuse these thoughts in us, CSA or Centre for Social Action department of our college arranged a visit to Samara, a CBO in Jayanagar, Bangalore, which supports this community. A group of around 50 inquisitive students visited the CBO with the hope that they would know more about this section of the society and that this visit would help them form a clearer perspective of this minority. We were welcomed into a small room where we were made to sit. Just as we settled ourselves, the president of Samara, Sonika, a transgender, came in to address us. She explained to us, patiently and in detail the problems that their community faces and what the CBO is doing to help out. The orientation was in Kannada and was translated into English for everybody’s convenience. The talk was an eye opener for all of us. It helped us form a clear perspective and the way we perceived the presence of these individuals completely changed. Our hearts reached out to them as we were told how they were mistreated. The only way they can earn their daily bread is either by begging on the streets or through sex work. They are prone to life threatening diseases like AIDS and due to lack of proper health care, their lives are completely ruined. The CBO works towards giving them all necessary facilities for proper healthcare and raising their status in society. After the talk, we were allowed to question them and all our queries were answered to our satisfaction. We concluded with a plea from the community to spread the message that they are also like us, born the same way we are and live the same way we do. Sexuality is natural and it is inhumane to discriminate on the basis of something that nature has given us. With these strong words and the will to stand up for the LGBT community and support them, we left the CBO office with a completely new and positive outlook towards life.

Srishti M, Student Representative, CSA

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