Resisting Stigma and Homophobia: Raju Jadhav's Deposition, Pune Panchayat
Director: Jeevanandhan Rajendran
Duration: 00:04:33; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 6.185; Saturation: 0.232; Lightness: 0.726; Volume: 0.129; Cuts per Minute: 2.633; Words per Minute: 102.238
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’.
Raju Jadhav, one of the deposers at the Pune Panchayat, talks about her experiences growing up as a transgender person in rural Maharashtra. Raju, who had a tormented childhood at the hands of her relatives, now belongs to the group Muskaan and has not seen her family for several years.
people's panchayats on resisting stigma and homophobia
I am Raju Jadhav. I am called Reshma hen I wear a sari. When I was at home, I used to face a lot of problems. When I achieved puberty I realized that I did not have any attraction towards ladies. I used to like to play with my sisters, help my mother in the kitchen. But the family was developing a different sort of feeling towards me. They always used to question me bout things I did. They told me how I should behave. The told me I was a boy and should behave like one. Go out with other boys, go our cycling, swimming with them. But I did not like any of it. Eventually my sisters got married. But I never told anyone that I don't want to marry. Then it was my turn. Finally I told my parents that I can not marry. I accept that I am a third gender as you say I am. My parents then called all our relatives and they decided almost in the fashion of a meeting that this person is going to leave this house from now on. And we are not related to him in any way. I left the house that day. It's been three years now. After I left the house I tied pearls in my neck, wore a sari and became a 'Jogarpa' and joined an organization. We have a group called Muskaan, I work there. Now I am working for a well being of many more like me. They should not have to face the same fate as me and their parents should not leave them. I thought of myself and my siblings. If I had disclosed my identity before, my siblings may not have got married. If I had started roaming in the village after becoming a Jogarpa before, it would not have been accepted by my family because it is not accepted within our family of Patils. So I held on till my siblings got married and when they stated talking about my marriage I disclosed my identity. After I became a Jogarpa and I started wearing a sari, I felt much better, I felt more confident. But my family harassed me even when I would go for Jogwa (ask for food/money for charity in the name of god) in the village. They told me not to beg in the same village as theirs. They asked me to leave the village and go to the other village. I had gone to a relative's place in the next lane when they stripped me and beat me up. A complaint was launched at the police station and my parents were threatened because of me. I hope nobody has to suffer as much as I did. That is all I have to say.
People's Panchayats on Resisting Stigma and Homophobia; Action Plus - a Coalition for Rights, Education and Care in HIV and AIDS. Raju Jadhav, one of the deposers at the Pune Panchayat, talks about her experiences growing up as a transgender person in rural Maharashtra. Raju, who had a tormented childhood at the hands of relatives, now belongs to the group Muskaan and has not seen her family for several years.