When I was growing up, I had no idea something like this existed. I lived in Puri where there was no such awareness. At 16 I got to know there are communities to help people. From childhood we don’t get the kind of sensitization that is required. Kids get bullied in school. They get isolated, struggle with depression, anxiety issues that is why by the time they accept themselves they are already 17-18 years old. Then starts the journey of convincing their family and friends. Some people are lucky to have very accepting parents but most of them are not. If a kid wants to grow his hair long or wants to wear a different colour, parents don’t accept that easily. Parents and schools need to teach the kids that all kinds of people exist and we cannot define them by their gender. Through our NGO we try to create awareness, we tell people its normal. We are not activists; we are a support system for such people. We are there to listen. Even someone belonging to the community is not aware of all the colours of the spectrum. We try to provide visibility to everyone. The current generation is very aware from an early age, people are not shy and they don’t hide anymore. Change will come but it will take time. It is good to see that people are trying.

If you can live with yourself without having to struggle with your identity, get a goodnight sleep- for me that’s Pride.