Pema; a young voice from Bhutan raising awareness on LGBT young people
From the cold climates of Himalayas, Pema is Youth Voices Count’s IGNITE! Mentee from Bhutan. 22 years old, Pema currently works as an out-reach coordinator at Lhak-Sam organization in Bhutan providing awareness on HIV prevention and testing for the gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men community. Pema is also one of the founding and active members of the first ever youth LGBT group in Bhutan.
Strong willed at a young age, Pema believes that despite the mild nature of Bhutanese as a nation, people stigmatize those that belong to gender and sexual minorities resulted by lack of awareness. “Young gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people in Bhutan face many challanges says Pema.
Pema’s small scale project as a mentee of IGNTE! Mentorship program is mainly focused on raising awareness among the general public about the LGBT community with the support of his community.“Raising awareness among our people about gender and sexuality and the lives of LGBT people is absolutely necessary. The discussion on these concepts are quite new to Bhutan and my aim is to take this opportunity to provide people with positive stories about LGBT people” says Pema describing the objective of his small scale project.
Pema, with the support of the peers in his youth group will be developing a video capturing the life stories, challenges and successes of young LGBT people in Bhutan which they will use to raise awareness among their fellow country men. “We are a nation of peaceful people and I believe that by opening a window for people to look in to our lives will create a positive change” says Pema. The video will be one of the first of its kind in Bhutan as there is virtually no other videos on these issues being produced in the country so far.
An event will be organized to launch the video and to ignite a discussion with relevant organizations, authorities and community on addressing the challenges faced by the LGBT community in Bhutan. Lead by Pema, the youth group with the support of YVC will continue these discussions both online and offline to ensure that the topic is kept alive and further actions are being taken.
Youth Voices Count