top of page
  • Writer's pictureInsipid Board

Pride Interview with Jayvan

Interviewer: Paakhi Maheshwari

Interviewee: Jayvan


Paakhi:

Hi Jayvan. I'm Paakhi and I'll be taking your interview today. Thank you so much for agreeing to interview with us.


Jay-van:

Thanks for having me.


Paakhi:

Could you explain to us your gender and/or sexuality?


Jay-van:

Sure. I identify as a trans non-binary person, and when it comes to sexuality, I often use the term homosexual. As a trans-non-binary person, I prefer using the term "attracted to males" rather than "homosexual" to describe my sexual orientation. The term "homosexual" can have different interpretations, including being attracted to the same sex or the same gender. Being non-binary means I don't identify with the traditionally binary genders of male and female. Additionally, being trans indicates that my current gender identity is different from the one assigned to me at birth, which was male.


Paakhi:

So, Jay-van, have you come out yet to society, or your friends and family?


Jay-van:

Yes, I'm open to everyone who's actually in my life. That includes my parents, my relatives, and my friends. There might be some people who might not know about it, but for the people who personally know me, I'm out to everyone.


Paakhi:

That's great. So, how has your experience been after you came out?


Jay-van:

Okay, it's been a roller coaster actually, and I love it. When I came out — it was actually a pretty obvious story. You come out, you lose a ton of friends, and you make a ton of friends, too. And there are some good instances, there are some bad instances. It is difficult to summarize how it has been exactly, so I would just call it an emotional roller coaster, but a good one - always with a happy ending.


Paakhi:

Were there any instances, or were there any people — as you said, it's been an emotional roller coaster — who are not as “accepting” of your identity, and how was your experience with that?


Jay-van:

Paakhi, there are people like that today, too, not just in the past. It's a daily occurrence. Non-binary and queer individuals would definitely relate to this.


Only yesterday, while hanging out with a friend in Lodhi Garden, a drunk man called me and pointed at me — targeting me and excluding my friends. Out of curiosity, I walked towards him. He started making offensive comments about couples and other people. This happens often, with both people I know and strangers.


When it happens with someone who already knows about my identity, it feels like a deliberate act of dislike or rudeness. For instance, some of my teachers refuse to use my chosen name and pronouns (they/them), displaying visible transphobia and queerphobia in my life.



Paakhi

That's inspirational; even though you have been subjected to all these things, accepting of who you yourself are, I think that's what matters most to a person, right? And to survive through that - to strive through that without being negatively affected or changing your resolutions is the best way to go. I commend you for that.


Jay-van:

Thank you so much.


Paakhi:

Jay-van, even though some of them weren't negative reactions, have you ever worried about being negatively called out sometimes or being subjected to some kind of prejudice by a person? Simply declaring that you are as you are, without being worried about anything?


Jayvan:

In all honesty, as a university student, our generation is generally more accepting and tolerant than previous ones. Universities create a liberal atmosphere where people don't mind your choices or attire.


However, there are still instances where public scrutiny occurs, though friends usually stand up for you. It becomes complicated when there's no one around to support you in public. These experiences make me afraid to express myself openly. Recently, I wore a slightly feminine outfit, and the stark difference in people's reactions hit me. Losing male privilege is frightening. People start perceiving me as not "the ordinary man" and as what I am — a third gender. I've faced public calling out by police, and strangers on the streets and in parks. This isn't just my experience; it's a shared reality within the community, affecting our daily lives.


Paakhi:

It's scary to the third person too. I can't imagine just standing there if that happens. If someone calls anyone out, it wouldn't be acceptable to a person, from the community, or who is an ally.


Jayvan:

Totally. And you know, this is why it is so important that. To have allies and, and to be an ally, if not actually needs, just to know queer people and just to be friends with them, people are oftentimes like I have queer friends and I'm an ally. That's not actually how it works. What we want for me was sometimes in the moments of weakness, we want you to speak up because you know, that something bad is happening. So, why not say it? Why not do something about it? Saying that I don't appreciate it, and saying that this is not acceptable is the least that you can do when you see someone being treated unfairly. Yeah. So it is very important to have allies around and more and more people to be educated about this.


Paakhi:

If someone says I have queer friends, I'm an ally is an indicator of them not being an ally. An ally doesn't casually mention that as an asset to their personality — it shows how biased they are.


Jayvan:

Right. You're not understanding the complexities of unfair treatment here.


Paakhi:

Advocating might be a stronger word, but just standing up for what you believe in is crucial, whether as an ally or within the community. Allies affirm with their identity and stand up for others. Sometimes, well-meaning straight individuals may struggle to find the right words to address someone without causing offense. So, when someone comes out, the best response would be to listen, support, and make them feel comfortable with their identity. What do you think, Jayvan? What would be the best response by an ally when someone comes out to them?


Jayvan:

I'm glad you asked this question, Paakhi, since there are multiple stances on it.


When you come out to people, you usually start with those closest to you, like friends, cousins, and eventually your parents. But often, their response is filled with questions and doubts. They want to know if you're absolutely sure about your identity and the reasons behind it. While it's natural to share experiences and raise awareness, it's important to recognize if the person is ready to talk and not treat them as advisors. They don't need validation; they need acceptance of their experiences.


In general, there are simple yet impactful ways to create a supportive environment. When introducing yourself, include your pronouns along with your name. Similarly, when someone introduces themselves, kindly ask for their preferred pronouns. It may seem obvious, but taking the extra step shows that you're fostering a safe space for openness and understanding.


These suggestions are just the beginning. There are countless other ways to support the queer community, but these ideas came to mind. Ultimately, it's about embracing the fact that coming out is an intensely personal journey. It's not about questioning or invalidating someone's experiences, but rather offering love, acceptance, and a compassionate ear. Being an ally means standing alongside the community and creating an inclusive environment where everyone's identities are respected and celebrated.


Paakhi:

When it comes to pronouns, it's important not to make assumptions based on appearance. Instead, include your pronouns when introducing yourself to anyone, regardless of how you perceive their gender. It doesn't take much time or energy, and it creates an inclusive environment.

Then, there are people, straight and those of the community, who make homophobic "jokes" for the sake of amusement. How does one react to such a situation?

Jayvan:

First of all, if you're queer and a joke like that is being flagged down, I wouldn't say I wouldn't call it a joke in the first place, I would call it an oppressive narrative.


It's crucial to stand up for yourself when faced with oppressive narratives. However, you don't have to engage in every discussion, especially ones that disrespect you or fail to value your voice. If a group doesn't respect or listen to you, it's best to conserve your energy. Express that you don't appreciate their behavior and that you won't tolerate it. Arguing with people who refuse to listen is futile. Communication requires understanding, and if they've already closed their minds, it's not worth your time.


Allyship and respect for ourselves are crucial. We don't have to engage in every discussion or communication that disrespects us; it's a form of self-empowerment. Instead, we seek your support. If you witness such behavior, kindly express your disapproval, stating that it's unacceptable. These small actions have a significant impact.


As an openly queer person, I've learned the value of gestures from strangers, especially for those who face oppression. Once, when I wore a skirt to a debate competition, the experience was challenging. I encountered negativity from the police, passersby, and even in the metro station. However, amidst the negativity, a few kind experiences stood out.

I recall a total stranger approaching me with a smile, complimenting my outfit. These small gestures hold immense value, especially for queer individuals and those facing social pressure. They go a long way in making a positive impact.


Paakhi:

Support and encouragement are vital, especially for those who have faced oppression due to their identity. Respecting each other's identities, regardless of personal beliefs, is crucial. No one should be called out or disrespected without acknowledging their role as fellow citizens.

At IBI, our organization celebrates Pride Month by interviewing and sharing stories of individuals from the LGBTQ+ community. Even as an organisation, we do not take in account a person's gender or sexuality in the hiring process. Apart from that, How do you celebrate Pride Month? Do you have any special traditions or activities?


Jayvan:

Before I move to that, I'd like to comment on IBI. I think it is a youth-led organization and you work to spread awareness.


Paakhi:

Yes, we do!


Jayvan:

I love the concept actually. I just want to say that I'm so grateful to you for doing everything that you're doing right now. It is very important to do this by spreading awareness, talking to people, giving them education, and telling them how things are, and how they work.

Besides that, I would just like to comment on the sexuality and gender criteria you set.


Paakhi:

We don't. We don't include anything in our application forms about your gender or sexuality, just the pronouns.


Jayvan:

Right. So this is not for you, but this is generally, this is for the general audience out there that being inclusive also means having people of diversity, keeping it as a condition that we need to have some representation here that we need to have women here, that we need to have people from the queer community, we need to have people from other communities and we need to take steps for that. So we need to approach queer people and ask them, would they like to be a part of our organization. We want to make it easier for queer people to come up and be a part of our organization, stuff like that.


Paakhi:

You're right! Inclusivity also involves actively seeking representation and diversity. What you are saying is actually a better idea than simply discluding the criteria. I'll be sure to make a note of that!

Jayvan:

I haven't had much opportunity to celebrate Pride this year as my vacation just started, and I've been spending time with friends and family. However, I find joy in participating in activities like this, sharing my experiences, and engaging in conversations about identity and sexuality. I hope that people close to me, such as classmates or university peers, would approach me directly to discuss my journey, my pronouns, and my experiences.


It's heartwarming when others show a genuine interest in understanding and learning. I believe it's crucial to spread awareness and education, creating a better environment for those who may be contemplating coming out. I'm grateful to you and your organization for providing this platform and for the opportunity to contribute to making a positive impact, one step at a time. So, this interview right now, is my version of celebrating pride. Thank you for everything you're doing.


Paakhi:

Thank you for the interview opportunity. We understand the importance of anonymity for those who prefer it, while also recognizing the value of sharing experiences directly from the source. Learning from personal stories is the best way to understand and empathize with different perspectives.


Jayvan:

Exactly. If you're part of the community, you know what people need to know.


Paakhi:

Being part of this organization for two years and conducting these interviews has been eye-opening. I've learned things I never considered before, despite considering myself an ally. It's amazing how much there is to learn and grow, even for someone already involved in the cause.


Jayvan:

Learning about concepts like inclusivity, feminism, and queer rights is an ongoing process for both straight and queer individuals. It's important to appreciate and be open to new information and ideas. As long as the conversations are respectful and don't disrespect anyone, we should embrace the opportunity to learn and grow together.


Paakhi:

Absolutely. With that, we come to the end of this interview. It was really fun talking with you, Jayvan! Thank you so much!






コメント


bottom of page