Discussions and deliberations on gender and sexuality still fall under the category of ‘tabooed’ topics, even in present-day India. It is only within a small group that one can be sure of not facing any backlashes while freely talking about one’s sexual orientation. Rest, the scene in India is not at all promising for people belonging to the LGBTQI community.
Every day is a battle for them where they have to fight it out against the entire society. The saddest part about all of this is the family members of the LGBTQI community are not ready to accept them the way they are. Most of them, often, end up living a dual life where they have to hide their identity even from their families. However, in a welcome move, Kama La Mackerel’s mother gifted her transgender daughter a beautiful silk saree that she eventually wore to her best friend’s wedding. Kama is a performer, poet, multi-disciplinary artist and community organizer based in Montreal.
She wrote on her Facebook post:
THANK YOU, MOM, FOR GIFTING ME YOUR OWN FAVOURITE SARI, AND FOR INSISTING THAT I WEAR IT TO MY BEST FRIEND’S WEDDING. MY RELATIONSHIP TO MY FAMILY, JUST LIKE MY RELATIONSHIP TO FEMININITY, HAS ALWAYS BEEN A FRAUGHT ONE, MY FAMILY HAVING BEEN THE FIRST SITE OF PUNISHMENT THAT I EXPERIENCED FOR TRANSGRESSING GENDER NORMS. THESE TWO RELATIONSHIPS ARE TIED IN A KNOT THAT I’VE HAD TO UNRAVEL, ONE ALONGSIDE EACH OTHER, OVER THE YEARS:
EMBROIDERED IN THESE SIX YARDS OF SILK ARE THE THIRTY YEARS IT TOOK ME TO FIND WHO I AM AND SLOWLY BECOME WHO I WAS MEANT TO BE;
HIDDEN IN THE DEEP BLUE OF THIS SARI ARE THREE DECADES OF NAVIGATING REJECTION AND ACCEPTANCE, PUNISHMENT AND COMPASSION, RAGE AND FORGIVENESS;
THREADED IN THIS FABRIC IS A LIFETIME OF SILENCE AND DEJECTION, THE WEAVING OF THE UNSPOKEN OVER MY SKIN, THE (UN)WRAPPING OF SHAME AROUND MY BODY;
EMBEDDED IN THIS GARMENT ARE THE FEET OF A YOUNG CHILD WALKING IN PAIN, THE HANDS OF A SUICIDAL TEENAGER HOLDING THE PIECES OF A BROKEN HEART, THE LUNGS OF AN INSECURE ADULT STILL LEARNING HOW TO BREATHE A STEADY RHYTHM…
BUT WRAPPED AROUND MY BODY IS ALSO THE GIFT OF PEACE & ACCEPTANCE: AN OFFERING OF LOVE, A REQUEST FOR FORGIVENESS, THE RECOGNITION OF SOULS BEAMING TRUTH IN THE SUNLIGHT, AND THE POSSIBILITY OF RE-IMAGINING, RE-CREATING AND RE-ENCHANTING OURSELVES, EACH OTHER AND OUR RELATIONSHIPS.