Centre for Social Research in association with It Gets Better (USA) has initiated It Gets Better India. To mainstream positive dialogue on LGBTQ community globally with the intention of making lives stronger and happier; It Gets Better (USA) has spread its reach to many countries. It Gets Better India seeks to uplift, empower the LGBTQ and bust the myths around the community. It is imperative to do this now as India is reviewing Section 377 to decriminalize it.
Towards achieving the aforementioned objectives, It Gets Better India interviewed Anwesh Sahoo (Mr. Gay World India 2016), Kalki Subramanium (Activist, Artist, Actor and Entrepreneur), Kritagya (Author), Wendell Rodricks (Fashion Designer), Shristi (Artist), Heilige (Student), Ali Faraz, Palash and Manak Matiyani.
Manak is a feminist queer activist with extensive experience in facilitating youth leadership for social change. His work has focused on sexuality rights, gender justice, violence prevention, and Sexual and Reproductive Health (SRH) and Rights awareness. A graduate in Literature and Mass communication, he has experience in working with programme management and design, training and facilitation, social media and on-ground campaigns, digital storytelling, leadership development and social entrepreneurship. At The Youth Parliament Foundation (YPF), Manak works across programmes to lead strategy development, partnerships, resource mobilizing and management. He supervises programmes to support monitoring and quality of delivery and contributes to staff and volunteer training and development across the organization and its programmes. Prior to joining The YPF, Manak worked with diverse civil society organizations, grassroots groups, educational institutions, volunteer collectives and youth led groups to deepen young people’s reflective and transformative engagement with self and social change.
It Gets Better India spoke to Manak on his journey in Queer Activism, Feminism as launch pad for Queer activism, Voices within the LGBT community, LGBTQ messaging and prejudice, Mainstreaming dialogue on LGBTQ, Coming out and existing Indian realities, LGBTQ Stereotypes, Life Perspectives, and his motivation.
The crux of interviewing Manak was to understand the interpersonal dynamics within the community and how one can lend their support and vote of acceptance to the sexual orientation and gender identity of people. “Your ability to be honest, open about yourself and to others is something that is really curtailed by discrimination and oppression that exists on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. We need to remove the cloud, the barrier of this kind of oppression on the basis of their sexual identity that people grow up facing and learning from everybody around. I think that is what will allow us to really enable people. It will really allow us all to figure out for ourselves what a great life, love and relationship we want and we can give.”