Growing up gay was not easy for 25 year-old Sabak Pogati. ÒI didnÕt feel different, but people made me feel different.Ó School was particularly difficult. ÒThe hatred that I faced around the boys, especially the boysÉthe boys bullied me a lotÉ I used to feel alone. I could not share my stories with people or my friends. I did not have many friends.Ó Reflecting on his childhood he says, Òit was traumatizing and I wish no one to go through what I went while growing up because childhood and its memories should be the precious one. I was so frustrated with my life and didnÕt see nothing good so I always you know thought of committing a suicide.Ó Life has changed though. ÒAfter each thunderstorm there will be a day with rainbows,Ó he says. And he realizes things could be so much worse; ÒI consider very lucky that I am born in Nepal where people are so  receptive. I hear stories from Afganisthan, Pakistan, IndonesiaÑin asian countries people are brutally murdered for being who they  are. I consider myself very lucky and fortunate that I am born in a familyÑmy mom and dad loves me no matter what.Ó Nepal's current LGBTQI+ laws are some of the most open in the world Ð including the legal recognition of a third gender. Tangible implementation of the various government orders has been piecemeal though, a 2014 United Nations report noted. And government officials have continued to harass LGBT groups, including by alleging that organizing around homosexuality is illegal in the country. Furthermore, while laws are progressive, discrimination is wide spread, especially within families, where marriage between a man and a woman and the bearing of children are expected of young Nepalese. Kathmandu, Nepal. 05.11.18. Photo Robin Hammond/Witness Change

Sabak Pogati /

“Life has been nothing but a beautiful and enriching journey so far. Living to the fullest with all the authenticity is what I believe making my life more meaningful. When you accept your true being with all your heart life is much easier to live and having to have such gratifying experience is way beyond my words.

Before the year 2014, I used to live a pretentious life with double standard out of the fear within me and of course the social prejudices that exists not only here but everywhere. I don’t want to talk about all the backlashes that I faced during my childhood for just being a normal me as I believe it’s not worth it not at all. However I would say it was traumatizing and I wish no one to go through what I went while growing up because childhood and its memories should be the precious one.

I was so frustrated with my life and didn’t see nothing good so I always you know thought of committing a suicide. Though everything was good in terms of my family or my education or everything beside me, I used to feel so lonely and had this vacuum inside me that had left me with nothing So I did try all sorts of stupid things to end my life but the almighty has another thing planned for me, yes I am an amid believer in faith that is of treating everybody equally out of sheer love and humanity, for me what religion is all about!!! One fine day I saw this advertisement on webs asking for volunteers to serve in the remote parts of Nepal for 3 long months and that was when everything changed completely for me. I decided to join the program anyhow and I went on for this beautiful journey away from home and my loved ones with a mission to find myself. It was my first time going out from Kathmandu valley without my family around me with complete strangers. At first it was very difficult to you know create a bond with new faces but gradually with each passing day I started to see the changes around me, I was enjoying the good company of other volunteers who later became my friends for life. During the three month stay at a remote place I had the opportunity to help the community and its people especially the young students to believe in themselves and own what they stand for. I started a campaign called, ‘Girls Rising’ where I gave classes for girls to enhance their confidence so that they can be empowered in order to be the face of change and to work together with the boys of their school irrespective of the discrimination they faced for just being a girl. That campaign helped a lot of young girls to build their confidence, at first they were more than hesitant to even say their name but with the campaign and self-efforts they were able to perform in front of the whole school. Later at the end of my stay there in the village all my students came up to me and thanked me for inspiring them, that’s what they said then and when I heard that I was like beautifully surprised and that was when it hit me hard, when you are so true to your actual being and just do what you feel like doing without any concern that’s when people starts to accept you and same thing happened to me. The encouraging words from those innocent students actually inspired me to accept myself as I am wholeheartedly. And on the last day at the party I decided to come out to all my friends and everybody were so overwhelmed and supportive. From that moment till date my life has been much easier and meaningful and everything positive one can think of.

These days I do everything out in the public be it my make-up pictorials or the YouTube videos or just a normal stuffs I put it out on the social media for everybody. Many of them like it and find it inspiring and others just find it crap and start bashing me for not my make up or my dance but for being who I am as a person, that’s a real shady hahhaahaha !!! But what I believe is people are entitled to have their opinion and I don’t like to concentrate on negativity. The only thing I am worried and most concerned is for the future generation to understand the value of authenticity and respect the mankind irrespective of anything, we being the millennial I think have so much responsibility to bring the positive change and it definitely starts from YOU and as the wildfire it will spread. To the LGBTQ+ community here in my country and all over the world please lets unite together to end this hypocrisy that exists around us. Let’s not spread hate among one another and treat all individuals with equal amount of respect, kindness and love as it’s the only way to achieve Moksha.”

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