From the very beginning, the world has been trained to look at an individual through the lens of class, caste and gender and not for their unique characteristics. Gender, especially, has played a significant role in quantifying people and their role in society. Over time, heterosexuality has been understood as natural and similarly individuals who identify as heterosexual are understood as normal but this strict categorization left-out individuals who did not identify with their biological sex, i.e., transgender and individuals whose sexual orientation was different from heterosexuality. Homosexuality and transgenderism are not new to the world, they have been recognised and mentioned time and again in the history. An individual should be able to choose his gender as well as sexual orientation, it should be a personal choice. With the changing world and its outlook, it became very evident how this particular section of society has been stripped down off their rights, faced atrocities and how identifying as transgender and anything other than heterosexuality came with a social risk of ostracization and became a challenge. This societal conflict of undermining a section came into forefront and a new lease of laws were introduced, in the form of NALSA judgement and decriminalization of homosexuality, to identify and respect their choice of gender identity and sexual orientation.
In complementary to the latest judgement by Supreme Court of India which now recognises LGBT community rights, a documentary film ‘Please Mind The Gap’ by Gagandeep Singh and Mitali Trivedi, beautifully captures the everyday life of a trans-gender man in a metropolitan city. The film sends out a strong message on ending violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The screening was held on 24th August 2018 at TERI- School of Advance Studies for the students to observe and understand the struggles and needs of the transgender community. It was highly appraised by the Pro-Vice Chancellor of TERI, Dr. Rajiv Seth, along with students.
The documentary has been screened at the 11th International Documentary & Short Film Festival of Kerala, 18th Open Frame Documentary Film Festival, 5th Urban Lens Film Festival, 9th Jagran Film Festival, 14th Painting the Spectrum LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Georgetown, 5th Udada International Women’s Film Festival, Kenya and many other places.
The principle of “Leave No One Behind” of UN, which is especially relevant for LGBT people, who have been repeatedly left behind by international and national development initiatives need more attention now than ever. The time has come for perspectives to change and make the community a part of the society. With respecting of one’s choice for gender identity and sexual orientation, we as young generation, shall take the appeal forward through different means to change the mindset of the people.
The documentary gives an insight into the experiences and struggles of leading life as a transgender person and makes us recognize our day-to-day privileges. Although the judgement gave a reason to rejoice but the reality is far from easy. There has been reports of death threats to LGBT couples who after the judgement are coming forward and attempting to live together. Transgender women are still being assaulted and harassed. Police security has been provided to cases coming forward to the Supreme Court. However, the concern remains of people not coming forward and frequency of such cases. Spreading awareness related to this subject is of at utmost importance as of now.
About the Directors-
Gagandeep Singh is a TERI SAS alumnus. He is a lawyer and a theatre practitioner. He is deeply interested in the historical evolution of laws and holds a Master degree in Environmental Laws.
Mitali Trivedi completed her Masters in Gender Studies from Ambedkar University, Delhi and is currently a research scholar at Department of Sociology, University of Delhi. She has also been involved in theatre and is working with Abhigyan Natya Association- a theatre organization for over half a decade.
Mohammed Subhan Khan is the SDG Coordinator for UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network Youth (SDSN-Y) from TERI SAS, South Asia Network. He is trained as an Electronics and Communication Engineer and has worked for 2 years in the industry. He is currently pursuing Master of Technology in Renewable Energy and Engineering Management from TERI School of Advanced Studies (TERI SAS). He has also been a founding member of a Delhi based solar start-up in India (2016). Subhan is also leading the School University Network (SUN) of TERI SAS, which sensitize people on sustainability and environment related issues by conducting workshops and seminars at schools, colleges and organizations.
Aanchal Saxena is a final year student of Masters in Sustainable Development Practices at TERI-School of Advance Studies (TERI SAS) and is currently a core team member of the UN SDSN-Youth at TERI SAS (South Asia Network). With a commerce background, she has previously worked in Wildlife Conservation and is an environment enthusiast. She’s newly obsessed with waste management and searching for practical ways to encourage upcycle by people.