Numerous misconceptions are worsening the social stigma and discrimination of LGBTs, forcing its members underground and to isolation, say LGBT community members.
“People think that an individual chooses to become a LGBT just to seek attention and that the LGBTs are mentally ill, abnormal and different,” said Pema Dorji, a member of the LGBT community. “People also think that sexual orientation, gender identity is a life style choice, and that it can be changed but this is not true.”
He also said that people also of the view LGBT individuals are sexually more active and that it’s okay to call LGBT+ individuals degrading names. “The most disheartening misconception is that people think an LGBT individual can bring bad luck,” said Pema Dorji.
He also said that, people think that homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism are influences of western culture.
These misconceptions build self-stigma compelling individuals to shy away from expressing their issues to the existing community for help and in seeking services provided by government and other institutions.
“Those challenges can lead LGBTs to commit suicide, leave school and get into drugs and alcohol,” he said.
Pema Dorji, a Trans-woman, said that, it was difficult for him to recall his younger days in school where his relatives were ashamed of coming to collect him after school. “I never went to toilet fearing that friends might make fun of me, I used to hold my toilet and do it when home,” Pema Dorji said.
He also recollected that when he complained to a teacher on me being criticized by a schoolmate the teacher asked him to change his behavior.
Similarly, Chimmi, a Trans-man from Trongsa, said that she was discriminated and humiliated by schoolmates, which compelled her to leave school. Later she became a nun but had to leave after she fell in love with another nun.
LGBT members urge public to accept them for who they are. “Being LGBT+ individual is small part of our life as we have our own dreams and aspirations like you all and being LGBT+ is neither a choice nor a disease which can be contracted or spread through dealing with the LGBT+ individuals,” members said. “There is no distinction between you and me in terms of capability and thinking power. We are your brother, sister, family, friends, community.”