The Indian government took an important step towards awareness and equality for LGBT in the country with a resource material prepared by the health ministry for adolescent educators.
The materials, produced in conjunction with the UN Population Fund tell young people that it is all right to “feel attraction” for the opposite sex or the same sex during adolescence.
“Yes, adolescents frequently fall in love. They can feel attraction for a friend or any individual of the same or opposite sex. It is normal to have special feelings for someone. It is important for adolescents to understand that such relationships are based on mutual consent, trust, transparency and respect. It is alright to talk about such feelings to the person for whom you have them but always in a respectful manner… Boys should understand that when a girl says ‘no’ it means no,” reads the resource material.
The kit also dispels gender-based stereotypes in its section on mental health and asserts that boys are allowed to cry, and derogatory terms such as “sissy” and “tomboy” are inappropriate.
“It is alright for boys to like things like cooking and designing that are normally associated with girls; adopting the role of the other gender does not mean that he is not male. The same applies for girls who talk too much or like to dress like boys or play games like boys. It is wrong to label such people as ‘sissy’ or ‘tomboy’,” it says
“Despite the expansion of media, there are many unanswered questions in the minds of young people in villages. Saathiya [health kit] will address these questions. We are also talking about behavioural change and a change in thinking,” health secretary C.K. Mishra said at the unveiling of the kits in New Delhi, according to Indian Express.