By Niharika Gaur
Anwesh Sahoo has already impressed many with his remarkable feat of becoming the youngest Mr. Gay World India in 2016 at the mere age of 20. We further ventured into a conversation where he recollects how it was like for him to move from a small township of Odisha to Delhi for his further education.
Though he studies Engineering in Delhi, we further venture into a conversation about his obvious creative inclinations. He states that he sketches, dances and even regularly writes,
“I have gotten published in some magazines before. I have also been writing for my campaign – Fitting Out”
He shares how his campaign tried to endorse and strengthen people to come out and not live a closeted life. When asked about his closeted life, he somehow always manages to be clear about his sexual orientation.
“I somehow always knew that I was attracted to guys. At 16, I realised that the attraction was stronger and was something which would not go away anytime soon. Until then, I hadn’t even realized that there was a particular term for it.”
On further investigation, he asserts
“I honestly never had sexual education in my school life. It was only when I was 18 that I started to use the internet as a substitute.”
Anwesh, having done his schooling and graduated from high school from Odisha, states
“It is unfortunate how sex education is still not part of the school curriculum.”
Only in 2016 was it “suggested” by the Odisha government to introduce a comprehensive sex education in schools as a part of National Women’s Policy 2016. In the past decade, whatever progress made in this regard in the state was being rendered useless because of high levels of hostility from some communities of the state.
For the same reason, it only became necessary for teenagers to resort to resources they can obtain the most easily. In the advent of the internet, the source being Google. Due to lack of adult supervision, it might fail to serve its purpose.
“Unfortunately, we live in a world where even 10 year olds are victims to sexual abuse. It becomes imperative for children to know the difference between a friendly touch or a touch with malicious intentions.”
Reducing the incidence of abuse can only be possible with awareness. Awareness to an elementary extent can do miracles to a person’s life in terms of avoidance of any physical or mental trauma.
Having previously had some unhealthy experiences with harassment himself, he adds how a man made advances towards him when he least expected it.
“We unfortunately don’t live in a world where we talk as much about men being sexually abused or touched inappropriately. It is not taught to men at all. I still remember when I was young and my mother used to teach my sister about how to protect herself but nobody gave me similar precautions. “
Though most schools conduct workshops occasional on sex education. A regular sex education in the normal curriculum has always served to be controversial. Ridiculous misconceptions about sex education surround us. From sex education being a possible reason for increase in promiscuous behavior to sex education being a subject propagated by corporates to increase the sales of condoms – all of this contributes to Sex Education having a taboo status in the Indian context.
“One doesn’t realize the importance of this knowledge until something of this nature happens to them and many a times it becomes too late.”
Completely agreeing to the note we end our conversation at, Sex education can only be imparted when everyone realizes the need for it.