From Mom’s Nose Pin to Brother’s Gym: How at the age of 9 I realised that gender is fluid, Aishwarya

Inspiration, My Blog, women

“Rahul, Raj, Govindda, Ajay…..” the audience blabbers as they were asked to guess the host of OBR (One Billion Rising is a global movement, founded by Eve Ensler, to end rape and sexual violence against women (onebillionrising.org)

“It is Aishwarya”, says the host finally.

“My name is Aishwarya and I was born a girl.”

I am a 17 year old student and at the age of 9 started applying the concept of gender fluidity. It started when my mom and dad separated, and my dad was fed up of tying up my waist long hair, hence, got it cut short. I was told by many that it suited me, and that I was looking cute. That was the reason I didn’t return to my long hair, but this of course is not the reason that I am identified as a boy. I have an elder brother and sister and since childhood my brother was allowed to go out, be it day or night, was allowed to hangout with his friends, and take all serious decisions and responsibilities of the house, this used to confuse and annoy me because I too was a human and I used to wonder why was I treated unequally. That time I didn’t know anything about gender equality, or that women were equal before law, I became sensitised only after 6 years when I joined NINEISMINE (http://www.nineismine.in)at the age of 14.

Although I was being treated equal as my brother, by her father, I was sent for grocery shopping or any other important work in the absence of my brother; I was given a phone before my elder sister. Although it made me happy but it also made me realise the level of discrimination in our Indian families and I started fighting for my sister’s rights with my father, and now all the three children of my family are treated equally.

When I got opportunity to speak in public, I spoke on gender equality, and everybody used to think that I am a boy because of my attire, my voice and my built which I had due to the gym, and once I tell them my name the hall used to echo with applause.

Now, everyone refers to me as beta(son), bhai(brother) and my sister looks up to me, as the so called protector, rather than my brother. I know this concept of protector too needs to be eliminated and that’s my vision: I want to become a professional dancer, and by being be the real me on private and public platforms, I know I am fighting gender stereotypes and inequality.

Now that I recall the times I used to apply my mother’s lipstick I laugh, and continue doing my dumbbells. There are lot of people who come to me and say that they want to be just like me and have the same courage. You know what? I am going to fight for all of these people.

My family, friends, neighbours, teachers all have accepted me like I am, and why shouldn’t they?
I am just another human.

NINEISMINE and yours 2. by: Steve Rocha.

Inspiration, Motivation

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They say that children are future of India,of the US of Iraq, of China.

What a myth!!

The NINEISMINE campaign believes that children are not citizens of tomorrow but that they are citizens of today. they are tax payers of today. They are trend setters of today!! Secondly they do not believe that they are merely citizens of this or that country but that they are citizens of a Global Earth community that dreams beyond borders.

The NINEISMINE campaign is an initiative of for and by children who set out to MAKE POVERTY HISTORY while they ensure the fulfillment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. (Like www.facebook.com/9ism9)

It dreams of a world where children will enjoy at least one Child right i.e. Article 2 of the UN Convention on Children. It states all children should enjoy all Rights! And until that day they are aware that they don’t have the luxury to engage in Baby-talk. They believe that it is important for them to speak now to secure their future and the billions of their peers in vulnerable situations.

The Campaign was started by children in response to Nelson Mandela’s appeal to ordinary citizen’s to keep their local politicians accountable to UN Goals to end poverty … sustain-ably.

The campaign also emphasizes that children have the right to be seen and heard and in through their own unique and child friendly mediums. Hence invites young people to use dance, art, poetry, mobile-apps, technology, circus art .. basically anything!! And thus even as they have fun they are part of a EPOCH moment when the world could consign Poverty to museums and our libraries.

This year the NINE IS MINE will be in Denmark, New York and Geneva and ofcourse In India. We need the support of young people from across the world to join our Drum Out Poverty Exercise by sending us a short video of them drumming with a caption of what they would like to Drum out. Send us these clippings at 999coordinates999@gmail.com

They are also conscious that it is not the rich that can or should speak for the poor and the vulnerable but that it is their responsibility to provide their marginalized peers with opportunities to speak for themselves.

They say that helping another will not change the world but it could change the world for the other person and more so for you. And we agree.

However NINEISMINE believes that if we do our bit we can also change the world. Register at www.nineismine.in For more info write to 999coordianates999@gmail.com

Steve Rocha – Campaign Convener NINEISMINE.in

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P.S. NINEISMINE gets its name from the promise by India to its children that it would dedicate 6% fro education and 3% for health by 2009. Till now India invests only about 1% on Health and about 3% on Education.

The your’s 2 in the title refers to the fact that WHO recommends an additional 2% (i.e.a minimum of 5% for Health)