Interview with Parakram Rana on Self-Acceptance and Support
Parakram Rana needs no introduction at all. He is a digital content creator, vlogger, and fashion stylist. He has tons of fans and followers on social media. His name is popular among today’s youngsters.
Let’s find out more about him and his insights through #RollingPrideBeyondJune for Beyond the Pride Month edition under the initiative of Rolling Nexus.
1. What do Acceptance and Support mean to you as a very vocal person in Queer Group?
The reason that I am vocal is also that I have got the acceptance and support from my family and friends. I don't think I would have gotten that confidence to be able to be so vocal if I didn't have that acceptance and support so it means everything to me, the acceptance and support that I have got not only from my friends and family but also the people who hear me out.
I think being vocal in this matter for me is very important because I think there are very few vocal people. Still, I think the voices of queer people need to be heard and even though I am one of the many, we still need a lot more people to speak up. Still, there should be no pressure for them but it's just important to be Vocal and for that, I think acceptance and support mean so much to me, and obviously like I mentioned, there's no pressure.
Everyone doesn’t have the luxury to be vocal, that's completely understandable. So I think if this society is more acceptable and supportive, everyone will be able to be more vocal about themselves and I think that’s just important.
2. Do you think Nepal has entered the era of Diversity and Inclusion regarding LGBTQIA? What changes do you term as Voila and what transformations are yet to be introduced for a balanced and welcoming society in terms of Nepal?
I think Nepal is entering the Era of diversity and inclusion in the sense that conversations are being made and people are speaking up being more vocal and people are listening and having conversations with each other hopefully with their family members also and trying to make people more aware about inclusivity and the diversity of our community. We have entered the Era for sure and this has got to do a lot with the diversity and inclusion all around the world and the access to social media. We have a long way to go but we are getting there.
The changes that I term as great are the support that people are getting from the community and the people on Tik Tok, YouTube, and Instagram for the people who are being themselves and I am seeing positive responses. There is hate and that will keep happening I feel for a very long time. But I see a lot of people fighting, a lot of people being good allies and fighting for those people who are being hated on and I see it as a great step because if it wasn't for that, I guess I wouldn’t have been on Social media.
I think my identity is such that everyone knows that I am from the queer community and they associated me with being queer at all times. I'm completely fine with that and I feel that if people were so hateful about that, they would never have been so kind towards me. So I see that great transformation but at the same time, I feel like the family members and people are fine having friends and following me on Social media and life but when it's their own family then they are not happy with it so I think that needs to be changed and people need to welcome that in their own family to welcome it in the society as a whole.
Also in terms of laws, I think we need to head towards bringing equality to the community. Few steps have been made but I think marriage is still quite far away and I think that would be great, to begin with.
3. Coming from the fashion industry, what dilemmas do you still find in the Nepalese fashion industry?
We are still a developing country where fashion can’t be given much importance because there are bigger things that need to be improved on for people to have a more comfortable life, to be able to afford and to speak more and there is a long way for the fashion industry to prosper. I think there are more important things than fashion at the moment.
People have been studying abroad and coming back and doing good for the industry and that isn’t me because I have left styling as a whole. I'm just doing my content creation solely for myself but there are so many other stylists, and designers coming and doing a great job and the industry is growing and I see a market for it. I see people buying clothes, buying stuff so that is one good thing but the dilemma I think is we're still very new. There aren't many resources for us to get clothes made or to get ingredients and products for getting things from abroad also. I think it’s really difficult for the reachability of being able to get things from abroad. It will be easy for other countries to get things from the USA, and the UK but in Nepal, it’s slightly more complicated so these are some of the dilemmas I think I feel but we are heading on the right path but still we are very new.
4. What’s your view on the relationship between Self-Acceptance and Minority Stressors? Do you think despite being visible to the LGBTQIA community, social acceptance has yet been difficult in Nepalese society?
It is really complicated because as much as you want to love yourself and be proud and happy for who you are and you should rightfully be that. At the same time, the hate and the negative comments that I get from not only people who follow me but from extended family, friends who will speak behind my back, who will maybe target me for having more feminine qualities take a toll on me like in for being attacked for being effeminate as much as I want to embrace my femininity. I still have this kind of internalized hate or something toward that side and so many people are facing rejection in life when it comes to relationships.
I struggle to accept myself in that way, so I am still fighting with it and learning to accept myself and be proud of who I truly am but I think that the relationship is pretty complicated. It’s definitely difficult like I said most of the people are not even aware of being gay, being lesbian. People term that it's associated with the third gender which itself is a very misconstrue term. Even people from our community don't want to be called as third gender because it is a very wrong term in itself. When it comes to being gay, lesbian, transgender, or non-binary, people don't fully understand and they are just unaware of this. In cities, they will be accepting the people from the LGBT community but not from their own family and that needs to change to move ahead.
5. As a content creator and a blogger too, what contents do you think need to come in the front line for the social acceptance and inclusive environment?
Allies of the LGBT community must actively support people from our community whose voices need to be heard. The voices need to be heard and the voices need to be amplified. They can really help in bringing the change. Because of the power of content creators, the power of influencers, who have a lot of followers in Nepal, actors, and the Miss Nepal, their voices can really further help foster the voices. They can create huge revolutions in the country. If they vehemently and strongly support people from our community, give a voice, and religiously do so, it will create a huge impact.
It is how much people from our communities can speak up. People from a community don't even get that kind of attention. I am one of the very few. Try being openly gay, try being openly from the queer community and try to be an actor. An A-listed actor from the queer community is something that it’s unheard of in Nepal or India, and in the west also. So I think the allies have to focus on creative content and they need to keep helping people from our communities for voices to be heard and amplify the voices too.
6. Research has often shown that disclosure or coming out to family is an important part of LGBTQIA youths’ healthy development? Can you please share some of those moments of yours and what are your suggestions to those who are going through such phases?
Research has shown that and, understandably, you should come out to at least one person you trust because it will help you feel better about yourself. It’s baggage that you are letting out. Definitely, no pressure should ever be given to anyone to come out because it’s so difficult. People can be thrown out of the houses. Lives can be in danger because of big troubles that can happen so one should come out. Only if they are fully sure that they can be safe and they will be fine but in terms of coming out to someone whom you trust, I think it is really nice. I think in today's time, you will have one or two people that truly love you and will support you and to be able to share your thoughts with them would make you feel so much better about yourself and just open up so many more. The thought process is just more of acceptance and if you don't have close family and friends, that’s fine.
We have so many support groups and LGBT support troops and coming out to them, they will never make you feel uncomfortable. So you are not alone is what I would like to say. Please try after accepting yourself for who you are and love yourself for it. I mean it's difficult to love yourself in a society like this. Just at least try coming out to one or two people who you think will support you. It would make you feel much better.
I think coming out for me was one of the most liberating feelings because I was privileged to be able to do so. I knew my family wouldn't throw me out of the house. I was ready to take over the world and be out of school in an open world and I guess that helped. It was the right time for me. It made me be myself and that was something that shaped me into a better person. Today I think it's totally fine to go through phases. Try first to understand yourself without any judgment, without any hate, without any guilt. It is what it is. You cannot change it. You can only understand it further. Read up, research, and try understanding who you are, and what your orientation is, without any shame, without any guilt with an open mind. Once you truly know who you are, that is a great step in going to the next step. So don't hate yourself, don't feel guilty for it. You are not alone. There are so many people speaking up. Now we have the Internet where we can have access to so many people who are prospering and doing great. Let them motivate you and that's what I feel.
7. Let’s come to the employment and entrepreneurship point. Self-acceptance and continuous hard efforts are a must to mark your identity but don’t you think the deep-rooted societal judgments and non-inclusion become the barriers to such things?
For sure, I think that cisgender, heterosexual people have more opportunities than the people from our community. Transgender people don't get jobs at all. It’s so difficult for them to get any kind of job. I am sure that the people from the LGBT community in Nepal out there are facing a lot of struggles.
I agree with the fact that there are deep-rooted judgments and non-inclusion and I think we have a long way to go and companies shouldn't just celebrate Pride month for their reasons, for profits, for Rainbow washing and they need to make sure to provide a safe space for their employees and make sure that they don't face any kind of stereotypes or hate or any kind of danger and they are treated equally in the community. It’s not only about hiring them. It's about making sure that they are safe and they are not treated badly. Some companies would make sure of that and I think others need to take examples and learn from that.
8. Last but not least, please share some of your messages to the allies or the supporters who are willing the creation of a safe and inclusive environment for ALL.
Give space to the queer community to speak up. Listen to them. Don’t give your opinions on why they are wrong or what is different. Let them have their space. Cishet people are hogging space. Let them speak. Be supportive of them. Make sure you have these conversations with friends and family members. Tell them why hate or just being phobic is wrong.
Explain to them how people from our communities are the same as anyone else and how they are facing discrimination. Be there as a support system and at the same time, don't feel the need or don't feel that superiority authority that you are an Ally and you have done so well by supporting the people from LGBT community. The bare minimum for you is to treat us equally. If you are doing that, you shouldn’t feel anything great. I think it is everyone's responsibility and every ally’s responsibility to do this as a bare minimum without feeling too great. And give them the space that they need. Let them have a voice and be supportive.
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Writer/Co-ordinator : Lachana Shakya
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