Last night in a horrific incident, a 42 year old man went on a shooting spree at a local #LGBT+ club (London Pub) in Oslo, Norway. This left two people dead and 21 injured. My heart goes out to the victims and families of this mindless evil act.
The Pride march scheduled for Saturday was cancelled.
The community’s safety has been compromised again; and in Norway, which is considered a very safe place for the gay community!
I am personally deeply saddened and angry!!
Why, I ask? Why would anyone want to terrorise people who simply live their lives. Why would someone be this evil?
The police have cancelled the ‘gay pride’ in Oslo. The community will get together and fight back, no doubt, with the hope that things change, and that we are all made to feel safe again.
Waking up to this news today was a reminder of how things are for us in this world.
Today, I am on a panel ( Blue Orchid London Indian Film Festival) discussing the life and story of Riyad Wadia, a renowned Indian filmmaker from Bombay, who made his first film BomGay, moderated by Nasreen Munni Kabir along with fellow panelists Neeraj Churi (of Lotus Productions) and Ash Kotak, at the Barbican Centre. Riyad passed away at a very young age of 36. Not before he had left a significant impact.
>> However, will this incident stay alive in my mind during the screening and post screening discussion? Yes, absolutely.
>>Does it make me fearful of being targeted? Yes, of course.
London is celebrating 50 years of Pride on Saturday, 2nd July. I will be marching this year with my head held high alongside my partner, for the first time since my coming out at 50.
>>Does it make me nearly of being targeted? Yes, Yes!
>>Am I afraid anymore? No. No.
No one can stop us from living our lives with the freedom and dignity we deserve. Our fight to stay visible will continue. Our fight to pave the way for a safer, inclusive world for our younger generation and generations to come, will continue.
I am fighting this with the only weapon I have and know. LOVE.
I wish for a safer world! I work hard to create a safer world through my own voice.
Hospital visits are something that have become a part of our life now – and that will remain. I feel a lot of anxiety visiting hospitals to be honest, depending upon the reason for the visit in the first place. I find hospitals intimidating!
However, I am also comforted by the fact that we will be in safe hands and looked after by Specialists and Experts.
Each hospital is different, each specialist is different. I find myself always stressed and not just because of the health issues. I stress at a deep personal level inside me. Let me share some of the reasons for such stress:
I have to often‘come out’ – Every step of the way from the introduction at the entrance to the Specialist we are meeting.
I am not sure if MY voice will be heard: I am not married to my #same-sex partner, which has its own issues that we have to deal with
How will it be in case of a medical emergency : I do not know if I would be allowed to give my permission as a partner, should we need to make medical decisions.
I am often discriminated basis my sexual orientation – this is a constant.
Yesterday was a special day in this regard. We had an appointment at the #NationalHospital#ForNeurology&NeuroSurgery #QueensSquareLondon. There are strict guidelines to follow when one visits hospitals these days due to #covid-19 restrictions. Typically, we are greeted by someone at the hospital entrance, who checks the paper work, you then confirm that you are visiting along with the patient (in my case, my partner) and then they take you to the respective area for the appointment.
The Specialist asked me to leave my partner for assessment and return in two hours. I left the building, did a bit of book shopping (nothing like a book retail therapy – I bought 3 fab books from an iconic book store called ‘#Gay’sTheWord), had a coffee and made my way back, very nervously working out all kinds of scenarios in my head on what to say to gain entry (because I was not the patient) and then how to ensure I navigate through all this.
When I reached the hospital, a young man who was checking the paper work greeted me. I said, ‘I am here to fetch my partner who is upstairs getting assessed‘, He said, ‘hmm, I see‘. This made me a bit nervous. I was thinking of worse case scenarios in my head. I am now so used to the prejudice, the passive homophobia, that it lives in me.
He quickly took me to the reception and repeated what I had said, ‘She is here to pick up her partner‘.
The lady at the reception, without batting an eyelid, smiled at me and said, ‘Oh yes, I remember you and your partner. She is upstairs on the 2nd floor right? Please go upstairs and do what you need to do. It’s absolutely fine”.
Just like that. It was so simple. I stood there waiting for her to add a ‘but..’.
She added nothing but a smile.
See, how simple it is to accept? This is what I mean – if only we can mainstream US (#LGBT) and if only everyone can be this accepting, ‘normal’ towards us, life would indeed be magic!
People have no idea what we go through on a day to day basis. We are constantly on alert. We are always expecting someone to openly or subtly demonstrate homophobia. We have constant anxiety of having to ‘come out’ and explain. We face huge amount of mental health issues that are caused by such homophobic actions.
Educating, sensitising and making us ‘mainstream’ and including us without prejudice is so critical for an inclusive and equitable place for all in this world. After all this world that was created for all!
We are meant to be soul people; soft, caring, loving with compassion for those around us. Aren’t we all born with a blank canvas? Apart from a spiritual line of thinking that we bring our past karma’s with us, the reality is that our present circumstances and experiences play an immense role in shaping our lives. (more…)