Resisting Stigma and Homophobia: Pandurang's Deposition, Pune Panchayat
Director: Jeevanandhan Rajendran
Duration: 00:04:05; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 0.939; Saturation: 0.170; Lightness: 0.715; Volume: 0.180; Cuts per Minute: 0.489; Words per Minute: 95.017
Summary: Action Plus, a network of 14 organisations working on HIV/AIDS in India, conducted a series of People’s Panchayats in 2009, which sought to understand people's battles against Stigma and Homophobia through the voices of survivors and resistors. The Panchayats sought to address the devaluation of livelihoods and life systems of entire communities of people who practice alternate sexualities, and the erosion of rights or dignity.
This series of People’s Panchayats was held in five cities in India. The first one was in Bangalore on January 28, 2009, the second in Hyderabad on February 6, 2009, the third in Chennai on March 21, 2009 and the fourth on April 11, 2009 in Pune. The fifth and final one was held in New Delhi on April 24, 2009.
Each of the Panchayats followed a similar structure. The interactive meetings were structured to have affected members from sexual minority communities share their personal experiences of living with stigma and homophobia. These were the deposers. Then the two-member expert panel shared their thoughts and ideas based on their experience in the field. The audience comprising of the general public, NGOs, media, opinion leaders and religious communities made their queries and comments at the end of the deposition. There was a brief audience interaction following which the jury or the panch gave its ‘verdict’.
Pandurang, a Devadasi and a deposer at the Pune Panchayat, talks about some of the harassment that has been meted to him by neighbours, and by the police. He stresses the need for society to respect the needs and rights of transgender persons.
people's panchayats on resisting stigma and homophobia
I am a son of sex worker. I also am a sex worker. I was going back home at 11-11:30 at night. There were 4-5 boys on the road. They started following me from the other side of the road. One of the boys started talking on the phone. He started swearing in Marathi, he called me a son of sex worker… I could not bear it. I asked them why they were harassing me. One day I went to fight with them without thinking about the consequences. I was alone then and fought with them. On the same road there was another organization 'YAMP', I told all the ladies over there that boys harass me everyday. It must be happening with every other boy passing from that road. Do something about it. Launch a complaint at least. We all went together and swore at them. I got really angry and went to their house and brought them forcibly. I told him, rape me first and then go to my mother. We all the ladies went and launched a complaint. But police said we only must have troubled them. But I told him I am not the only one harassed by them. There are 10-15 of us who walk on the road and get harassed. Once we had gone for a play to Delhi. I had to pee badly. Everybody was busy with setting up the set. So I went alone. I asked the watchman where the toilet was. I went to the toilet but a woman told me to go to the men's loo. I told her I am wearing a sari I have the art that women have, so I am a woman. She said, women will get scared and will run away. But then if I go to the gent's toilet they might force me to do something. Who will I go to for help then? Then that woman went and called her husband. That man came. I told that woman, 'They have a toilet for women, they have one for men. Do they have a toilet for transgender?' First make one toilet for us and then talk. Society doesn't give us any respect. They call us names. Why do you harass all of us? What is the reason? I only want to say this much.
People's Panchayats on Resisting Stigma and Homophobia; Action Plus - a Coalition for Rights, Education and Care in HIV and AIDS. Pandurang, a Devadasi and a deposer at the Pune Panchayat, talks about some of the harassment that has been meted to him by neighbours, and by the police. He stresses the need for society to respect the needs and rights of transgender persons.