Pride Month 2022: Sushant Divgikr on how workplaces can be trans inclusive and other LGBT concerns

For more more on our exclusive discussion with him about how to make society more accepting and a safe place for LGBTQ adolescents, continue reading.

Updated on Jun 29, 2022 04:16 PM IST  |  215.1K
Sushant Divgikr
Pride Month 2022: Sushant Divgikr on how workplaces can be trans inclusive and other LGBT concerns
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As we stride ahead in the 21st century, alas some of us still battle social stigma while attempting to express our queer identities. Be it in the confines of your home with family, at school or the workplace; wholehearted acceptance of gender identities and the freedom to make non-binary gender choices continues to elude us.

So, as we celebrate Pride Month 2022, we have with us Sushant Divgikr, a drag performer extraordinaire, actress, and singer from Mumbai, who is a well-known advocate for the rights of LGBTQ persons in society and has spoken out about the need to treat them with respect, dignity, and equality. Read on for insight into our exclusive conversation with him on ways in which we can be more inclusive as a society and make it a safe space for LGBTQ teens.

love is love

What would be your advice to someone who is bicurious?

Even though you see many people coming out around, there's no rush. You must feel at ease and confident while coming out. You must also be independent. If you believe that coming out will put you in an unsafe environment immediately, wait. There is no need to feel pressured to come out right away. Everybody has their own journey.

How can schools help young teens better understand their unique gender identity or explore their orientation in a fearless way?

Even if they are introduced to teenagers, gender studies or at least the fundamental concept of gender orientation must be taught in schools. When I was 11 or 12 years old, I was aware that I wasn't straight but I didn't want to admit it. This caused so much inner turmoil that it had a negative impact on my productivity. Gender is not just divided into the two extremes. Basic sex education is required, though you don't have to learn all the intricacies. I don't get why people keep claiming that it's too early to start feeding children about basic sex education because it's then that they have to deal with STDs, adolescent pregnancies, and other issues because up until that point, kids don't know what to do with their bodies.

They are going through a lot of hormonal changes at that time in their lives, therefore it is important to teach them about the risks and consequences. How can you expect your child to survive in the vast world if you don't teach him the basics?

Teen supporting lgbtq

What are some basic steps schools can take to make the classroom more of a safe space for children regardless of their gender or orientation?

I believe that education and counselling for the teacher should come first. Because teachers frequently tell students things like, "Don't cry, you're a boy," "Don't do this if you're a girl," they need to be counselled on. Don't constantly reinforce stereotypes to the point that they ruin society. Where did they learn it? In the earliest institutions of their lives, which are their homes and schools, which is why do you think youngsters have these preconceived beliefs about certain things? Therefore, if parents and teachers are better aware of these concepts, they will be able to raise their children correctly. More teacher-led workshops should be held in schools. The section of every school must have a counsellor.

Modern children are incredibly well-informed. Today's youth can access social media and the internet, and they frequently consult online articles when they are confused. I frequently come across children who are conscious of diversity, colour, gender, and orientation. We simply need to ensure that the teachers are on the same page as us and are able to guide the students along the correct route in life. 

What are some things workplaces and organisations can do to be more trans inclusive?

What workplaces need are anti-discriminatory umbrella policies, which essentially indicate that if somebody discriminates against anyone else at work, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, caste, or creed, there must be laws that protect you. You cannot mistreat someone just because you are their boss or are higher up in the hierarchy. There must be regulations concerning how your employees should interact with one another. The second need is that transgender persons have access to gender-neutral restrooms. It is incredibly unfair for them to discriminate between men and women; what if I am neither and nevertheless productive for your company?

There has to be an increase in the number of advocacy programmes and workshops. Your HR department needs to be very effective when someone is joining your organisation at the interview and recruitment stages. You need people who don't discriminate against others based on their gender or appearance.

Also Read: Common problems faced by LGBTQ teenagers in India

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