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Breaking Barriers---Our LGBTQI Campaign

Our campaign is a purely sustainable Human Rights Initiative outreach program which was initiated in the year 2013 by two students and a mentor as a small attempt to sensitize school students about the LGBT community and correcting the prejudice stemming from yearsโ€™ worth of stereotyping and social conditioning. It is the first of its kind, school level initiative. Our school is an active member of The Global Education Leadership Foundation, which is dedicated to building socially conscious youth leaders. As part of this program, our ex students, Sohini Chakrabarti (Class XI) and Safina Amin (Class XII) participated in tGELFโ€™s Youth Leader Competition where they presented this campaign. They won this competition and since then, a pioneering effort had been made to break social barriers.The students then decided to start a Delhi-wide LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex) Rights Campaign. After learning about the heavy discrimination faced by LGBTQI individuals, Sohini and Safina recruited peer educators from Class IX-XI to help spread awareness and sensitivity about this community to other schools across the city.

We had also partnered with CREA and the Naz Foundation to take forward this cause. CREA has conducted nearly 25 hours of intensive training for our peer educators, and Naz has provided us with resources and facilitated an interaction session between the peer educators and members of the LGBTQI community. The peer educators have been conducting informative workshops for students of Class IX-XII and all teachers within the school as well as outside. They also organize movie screenings and plan a one day advocacy event.

We launched this campaign in our other branch, East of Kailash, in September 2013. We also have a social media handle on Instagram with all updates:

@breakingbarrierscampaign. We also have an informative notice board, an anonymous complaint box, a scrapbook and an LGBTQI - dedicated shelf in the library. They aim to garner public and media attention and cause a positive shift in social attitudes regarding the LGBTQI community, at least amongst the youth. We are the only school in the country to have been participating in the Delhi Pride Parade every year from 2013 to 2019. So far, we have sensitized more than 3500 students across this city, reaching out to more than 30 schools.

Since its inception, we can very proudly say that weโ€™ve truly come a long way, not just in terms of the impact on others but also the appreciation weโ€™ve received for taking up this initiative.

This year, we plan to reach out to colleges and corporates. Also, look for support from like minded organizations.

Click for an Introduction

LGBTQIA--Click to Know the Terms

Legal Judgement video

Media Representation of the LGBT+

Some FAQs around LGBT+

Social Discrimination against LGBT+

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Session 2020-21
 
Breaking Barriers Campaign goes Live
 
Breaking Barriers Campaign was invited for a live Instagram interview by The Talk Project on 11th July @ 5pm to discuss 'Gender & Sexuality Awareness' in schools. This was the first ever live session for the campaign which was instrumental in inspiring the online audience to educate themselves on Gender Equality.
 
Talk Project is a digital initiative in the field of Sexuality Education.
The project is geared towards helping parents, educators, students, young adults, society develop awareness, perspectives and skills on talking to kids about comprehensive sex-ed. 
 
Screenshot 2020 07 11 20 25 41 465
 
Online Interactive Session with 'Mansa ' on 24 June 2020
 
Mansa, a Mental Health Awareness Organization, interacted with the campaign members in a first ever online interview session on 24th June2020. This organization was founded by clinical psychologist, Dr Shweta Sharma in October 2018 . Since then , they are working towards spreading awareness about mental health in Delhi and Gurugram. They work on different themes and this month being the Pride Month with focus on spreading Mental Health awareness of the LGBTQAI+ community.

The session was insightful as our members shared important information related to the campaign work and journey in the last 7 years. The students were interviewed by Ms Sheena Malik and Ms Divya Bansal on future plans and the impact that they are creating via social media.

 
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Collaborating As An Outreach Partner with Pride Circle
 
We are delighted to join Pride Circle as an Outreach Partner for their #21DaysAllyChallenge to celebrate Pride Month.
 
Other partners with us are:
Acme Experience | BeUnic | IIM Ally | LinkedInLocal India | Rainbow Literature Festival | The QKnit | Solidarity Foundation | Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar
 
We are proud to be the only school in the country to be a part of this Outreach programme.
The campaign will engage allies like us in a series of 21 micro-challenges/ activities the entire month of June, celebrating Pride month. The initiative leverages gamification and recognition to drive increased engagement.

About the Challenge => Follow us on Instagram @breakingbarrierscampaign

 

Sign up, Refer & Win =>
๐Ÿ“ Participation (Individual & Organization): FREE
๐Ÿ“ Refer any number of your friends, family & peers: Each successful referral earns you +10 points. Use referral link: https://wn.nr/AxUGfd to sign up and share with others.
๐Ÿ“ Sign up & complete all the 21 challenges: Each challenge earns you +5 points
๐Ÿ“ Bonus tasks/ additional challenges: There are a few bonus/ additional tasks which are non-mandatory, completing them will give you additional entries/ points.
๐Ÿ“ Challenges would go LIVE from June 1
๐Ÿ“ Challenges would end on June 30

IMG 20200521 WA0021

School applauded for its efforts

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Session 2019-20
 
Students showed their support to the community at the Pride Parade on 24 November 2019

Pride is back and our campaign students were all for it. Delhi Pride 2019 saw thousands descending unto the streets of Delhi to celebrate our differences. Pride is a celebration of the diverse gender identities and sexualities on the spectrum, and a positive stance against the discrimination and violence that people who identify as LGBTQIA+ endure. Bearing wide smiles, participants were busy taking pictures, dancing, singing, sloganeering and shouting out encouragement to each other as the crowd slowly moved towards Jantar Mantar.

The long walk started with the sound of Dhols, the sight of balloons flying free and the scent of love in the air. The great dragon of the rainbow started snaking through the streets on the shoulders of the community. Students of Breaking Barriers joined the parade, Chanting, โ€œHey ho, hey ho, Homophobia got to go.โ€

They progressed slowly but surely, dripping the very essence of pride through those now rainbow-hued streets, although Pride was not the only issue that was of importance at the time. Protestors vehemently opposed the Transgender people (Protection of Rights) bill that was introduced in the Rajya Sabha earlier this year. The bill denies Transgender people the right to self determination that should be their birthright. People held up posters, voiced their opinion and chanted for Aazaadi from this archaic bill.

The parade concluded with our campaign students reciting poems and singing songs to the crowds, giving voice to their ideas and propagating the message of pride with love and acceptance towards all. We raised our rainbow umbrellas and tipped our hats in support of the LGBTQIA+ community and we are sure to make our presence even clearer the next time we get the opportunity.

Talk Session focused on 'Queer Pride' on 22 November 2019
Famous personalities like Prince Manvendra Singh Gohil, Prince of Rajpipla, Gujarat, Brand Consultant AHF India, TEDx speaker and Founder of Lakshya trust along with Ankita Mehra, the famous MTV ROADIES Rising Star who's also an LGBTQIA+ Activist, Director at Equiv and Head of Q-rious, a job portal that focuses on LGBT+ employment were present as speakers to speak to our  students of class XI. It was an insightful one hour session where they shared their life's experiences, their challenges, the incredible work they are doing for uplifting the community. Ankita shared her own personal story of coming out to her parents and the backlash she received from society which connected well with the youth. Prince Manvendra gave a highly inspiring speech applauding the school's work and offering to collaborate with us to work together for the benefit of community where our school students can conduct vocational training and English speaking skills for them. Also they patiently answered queries from students about how students can play a role in breaking stereotypes in older generation. 
Mr Bismaya Raulo, Program Manager Impulse India also spoke about his experiences of how he joined Impulse which works towards towards ending harmful stigma and discrimination towards the LGBTQ community and people living with HIV. 
The event also witnessed an amazing  performance by the Senior School Band , which left the audience and the guests spellbound.
 
We Care Team at Amazon, Noida on 18 November 2019

The campaign members of the We Care Team were invited to Amazon, Noida for a discussion with their Inclusion & Diversity Team to understand how and what they do in their social awareness campaigns at school level. They also asked the students about what they expected and how they wanted their future to look like.. They got inspired by all the campaigns  run at school and wish to associate with us especially on gender neutral workshops and sessions. They also want our students to present the campaign to their employees sometime soon. Our campaign members also got an opportunity to share with their team, detailed presentation about each campaign and achievements. It was a two hour long fruitful discussion.

Workshops on acting and grooming skills for Transgenders at The Lalit Hotel on 16  November 2019

Campaign members got an opportunity to attend one of its kind workshops on grooming and acting skills especially for the transgenders organised in The Lalit Hotel, New Delhi by Keshav Suri Foundation. The workshop was conducted by the famous director, Mr Faraz Arif Ansari who has directed famous queer bollywood films like Sabr, Sisak, Sheer Qorma. It was a three day long intensive workshop that shared details insight into acting and theatre. The famous theatre artist, Mr Arvind Gaur from Asmitha Theatre also conducted few sessions.

Career Fair for Transgenders at The Lalit Hotel in November 2019

Our Project Director, Ms Vedica Saxena attended a one of its kind job fair, Q-rious hosted especially for the LGBTQIA+ at TheLalit Hotel, Delhi, organised by an inspiring and young 23 year old girl, Ankita Mehra who made waves in the MTV Roadies Rising Season with her brave and inspiring story. The school was appluaded  for their efforts towards LGBTQI+ community  and for the  conduct of  the DRAG QUEEN STORY HOUR for the students.

Special screening of a production under the banner, Miss Woomaniya on 20th Oct 2019 at The Lalit Hotel, New Delhi

Ms. Nikita Tomar Mann, Principal and Ms. Vedica Saxena, Project Director were invited to the special screening of a very beautiful Queer film 'Singular'- The Queen of Success, by Miss Woomaniya productions on 20th Oct 2019 at The Lalit Hotel, New Delhi. It was indeed a great experience to witness some amazing talent, DRAG performances, poetry, be a part of a talk on mental health.. They were completely swayed by the splendid work by  Keshav Suri Foundation that is worth applauding. KSF believes in giving platform to everyone to come out and showcase their talent irrespective of any gender norms.

This queer film is going to be India's first cinematic documentary on transmodel under Miss Woomaniya Production directed by Naveen Tokas and Deepanshu Pitlehra. It's a documentary film which depicts one message that every transwoman is also a woman; should be treated equally and with respect. It will be showcased at the Delhi International Queer fest in December this year.

Students of breaking barriers Campaign at Shiv Nadar School Gurgaon for a presentation on 14th Oct

There were about 150 students who were sensitized on the LGBTQ+ community and given all information including the legal aspects, history. The students seemed very interested and keen during the presentation. They posted a lot of queries which our students answered patiently. They expressed desire to start a similar Campaign and wish to undergo more intensive training in the future.

Drag Queen Story Hour for the students of classes IX & XI on 14 October 2019
 'Drag Queen Story Hour' was organised by Keshav Suri Foundation at our school today for campaign members of classes IX & XI where a drag queen read out a story sending out message on gender fluidity and promoting queer models to impact student's minds. They have given away 50 books on 'Elphie, The Elephant' which will be available in our junior library as well. The campaign members will soon read out the story to the kids of junior classes followed by activities on gender neutrality.
This story hour was held in order to celebrate one year anniversary of Keshav Suri Foundation which works to highlight the issues faced by the deeply marginalized LGBTQI+ community.
 
Session on 'Gender Sensitization' with RED FM team, RJ Anuj & RJ Sachin on 12th Sep 2019  at Lingaya's Lalitha Devi Management Institute, Chattarpur

Breaking Barriers team conducted yet another session on 'Gender Sensitization' with RED FM team, RJ Anuj & RJ Sachin on 12th Sep 2019. This time it was even more special because the audience was not a school, but second year students of  Mass Communication at Lingaya's Lalitha Devi Management Institute, Chattarpur. The audience was receptive and they applauded our students for their confidence and immense knowledge on the topic. The students also talked about LGBTQIA+ rights and spread awareness on their legal aspects as well. RJ Sachin praised our school for sensitizing students at an early age on social issues that the society is facing.

Breaking Barriers team at Maharaja Agarsain  School ,Ashok Vihar on 11 September 2019  under 'Pride Ki Side' campaign with RJ Raunac. Event was  covered live on RED FM too.
 

Breaking Barriers team  commemorated  decriminalization of Section 377 hosting an event in association with RED FM on 06 September 2019

School proudly celebrated one year of unshackled love- the decriminalization of Article 377 on 6 September 2019. This is an issue which has been actively worked towards by the students of Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar from the year 2013 and is indeed a unique effort as far as school students are concerned. This is the only school in the nation to have celebrated this day at a large scale. The show started with some mesmerizing performances by the special guests that were invited. A powerful DRAG performance by Prashant Chauhan and an elegant Kathak recital by Ajeet Das were quite spell binding. School band performed on stage left the audience in awe as the lyrics revolved around the community followed by a studentโ€™s heart-warming poetry on the LGBTQIA+. The students presented a slideshow of achievements and milestones of the Breaking Barriers Campaign since its inception in 2013 until now. The audience was enlightened by the heartful and inspiring speeches of the various personalities starting from Vikramaditya Sahai, an independent researcher in gender and sexuality, Mrs. Reena Rai, founder of Miss Trans Queen India and chairperson DAEF, Naaz Joshi, Miss Trans Queen India Classic 2018 and Miss World Diversity, RJ Swati from Red FM to Aakash an accessory designer. Naveen Tokas, founder of Miss Womaniya Production and his team also joined the celebration. The event was a grand success and left the audience moved, empathetic and highly appreciative. The school students also organised a face painting & tattoo photobooth in the school with all rainbow coloured props and hair wigs. The entire school was painted in rainbow colours. The school principal, Ms Nikita Tomar Mann & Sr School Education Advisor, Ms. Madhulika Sen also shared some inspiring words with the students on how they must continue to lead a life of inclusivity and create a safe world with all colours given equal right that they deserve. The school has indeed made an endeavour to celebrate a year of freedom, and they hope that many years of pride will follow.

 
 
 

 

 
 
 

Photography done by;
Arsh Bhasin
Manya Kamath
Preyansh Mongia
Click the links below to know more
 
Awareness & interactive  session at Tagore International School, EOK in association with RED FM and 'Pride Ki Side' campaign on  04 September 2019  
Official launch of 'Pride ki Side', a new campaign from 04 Sept.-13 Sep. 2019 by students in association with RED FM
Our students of breaking barriers campaign were invited to RED FM studio, Noida on 3rd Sep 2019 to officially launch 'Breaking Barrier's event on 06 September, organised at school in order to celebrate the first anniversary of  decriminalization of Section  377. RJ Raunac interviewed our campaign members about our campaign as well as what we do in order to sensitize the society about the LGBTQI community. The students were live, on air at 10 am on red FM sharing everything about their campaign outreach.
In association with RED FM and our newly launched campaign known as 'pride ki side', our campaign members will also be visiting one school/college everyday from 4th Sep. to 13 Sep. to sensitize students and teachers, professors about the community.
 
Session with students of Ramjas School,Pusa Road on 22 August 2019

A total of seven speakers from the  team of ' Breaking Barriers' campaign from X, XII & XII  grades visited Ramjas School, Pusa Road on 22nd August for an LGBTQIA Rights and Awareness session. It was an hour long session with 300 students (from classes IX & XI) that focused on gender sensitization, basic terms related to LGBTQIA, gender roles, sexual orientation, sexual behaviour, historical evidences of the existence of the community since the Mughal Era. They covered news about our school's presence in pride parades every year and the efforts that they are putting in to create a difference in mindsets of people. The session was very interactive and audience was very receptive. This was followed by a question answer session where the students showed interest in connecting with us to start a similar campaign in their own school. The session ended with a huge round of applause for our campaign team members.

 

Interaction with students of Shiv Nadar School, Noida on 19 August 2019

A total of seven  speakers from the  team of ' Breaking Barriers' campaign from classes XI & XII  grades visited Shiv Nadar School, Noida on 19th August for a session on  LGBTQIA awareness  and gender sensitisation. It was an hour long insightful session where the audience were students of classes X & XI.  The presentation covered all basics of the terms related to LGBTQIA, gender roles, sexual orientation, sexual behaviour, historical evidences of the existence of  community   from the Mughal times. Also it covered all essential details of our school's presence in pride parade and the efforts of our students for  creating a difference in mindset of people in societies and communities. The session was very interactive and audience was very receptive. This was followed by an  insightful question answer session where the students  showed interest in connecting with us in future on the same campaign.. The session ended with a huge round of applause for our campaign team members.


Breaking Barriers team aired on Rajya Sabha TV channel on 11th August 2019 

A special show called 'The Pulse' was aired on Rajya Sabha TV channel on 11th August 2019. The show focused on the topic of 'The Transgender Persons Protection of Rights Bill 2019'. Our Breaking Barriers campaign students were a part of this panel discussion which comprised of Ms. Reena Rai, Founder and Chariperson DAEF, representatives from Ministry of Social Justice & Human Rights. Our students shared details about their own campaign before the panelists. The students were also interviewed and posed questions by the show host about all that our campaign does in order to spread awareness about the community.

 
Session on 'Gender Sensitization' on 08 July 2019 with Ms.Reena Rai, founder and chairperson, DAEF and her Rainbow Team
The students of classes X & XI felt engrossed in the session that focused on 'We are your Strength'. This session was on inclusiveness of transgender community for adding to the strength of the society. Ms. Reena Rai , founder and chairperson, DAEF and her Rainbow Team were invited to speak more about the community. She shared her own story and journey into creating her own organization. She is also the founder of Trans Queen India, the first transgender beauty pageant in the country. This year, her team is representing India on the international level with it's season 3.  Her children, Ms.Amrita and Ms. Navya became a huge inspiration to the students when they shared their proud and challenging journey from childhood until now with everyone. Navya is a transwoman contestant in Trans Queen India and a renowned actress in a famous TV serial. Ms. Amrita is a 'Josh talks' speaker as well as a youtuber with over 5 million viewers/followers on her channel that spreads awareness about the community. Both of them have had their share of overwhelming and challenging phases in life where they weren't accepted by their families way back in 2005.
Mr Aakash, another proud member of the community shared his life story of how his parents supported him to accept his identity with pride. Whereas his joint family had stopped encouraging and taking pride in him when they realised that he was a gay. He is a renowned jewellery designer now. He recalls how society was even difficult for them  to live in about a decade ago. These people were proud of the fact that our school is sensitizing and spreading awareness across other schools in cities.
Students were able to breakthrough the narrow shackles/boundaries of transphobia and homophobia after this session. They were also able to view the LGBTQI community with a lot more compassion.
 
Awareness & sensitization session at DAV Public School on 13 May 2019

The main speakers' team from Breaking Barriers of class XII provided an insight into the LGBTQI Community to students of classes XI and XII at DAV Public School, Vasant Kunj on Monday, 13th May 2019. The presentation proved to be fruitful.The audience was extremely receptive throughout the course of the presentation, listening attentively and responding actively. It certainly left a successful impact on the students, with a few inspired to take up  something similar themselves. The students from DAV expressed desire  to start a similar campaign in their school under our guidance and with our support.

 
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