I love attending college events. And it is remarkable to see what students can do. The energy and the enthusiasm is very effervescent when it comes to college campuses. There are all kinds of students in every campus. Just because most people don’t come out and say it aloud, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t any queer or gender non-binary students and professors amid us. It only means that they don’t see enough people like them to feel safe in the company of their kind, or that they actually feel that it is not safe enough for them to open up. It is the responsibility of our educational institutions to ensure that every person learns to give the right amount of respect for the LGBTQ+ community and they are able to perform to their fullest potential without being prejudiced, bullied or treated in a condescending manner. That is also the reason why I try my level best to attend every LGBT themed event that I am invited to, especially if it is by an educational institution.
My interest took me to the beautiful city of Baroda (or Vadodara as it is now called). I remember Baroda as the city where my grand parents lived. Over time, the city has changed and everything seemed way too modern as compared to the lush green city that I saw two decades back. I was invited by Maharaja Sayajirao University as a chief guest. The invitation was from the Faculty of Law. The institute had organised a national moot court competition.
If the honour of being the chief guest was not enough, I was also seated on a higher plane with the founder director of the Faculty of Law of MS University, the vice chancellor of the university and the high court judge. The moot court was discussing the hypothetical case of a transgender with contextual reference to the 2014 NALSA judgement which gave fundamental rights to transgenders and Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalises sexuality. The students were very enthusiastic and knew the details of the case very well. The dignitaries in the dais spoke about the need to protect every citizen and how everyone deserved respect and equality under the eyes of the law.
Living in a metropolitan city, we sometimes tend to ignore that the smaller cities are also progressing simultaneously. The city of culture, Vadodara, revered me which made me change my perspective.
Like they say, you don’t need to understand someone to respect someone. Hai Naa?