Much like several other parts of the country, student elections are a yearly affair at Kolkata’s Jadavpur University. In the elections that took place in January, Asmita Sarkar created history. Not because of how she fared in the elections but because she became the first candidate ever to have identified herself as a lesbian to contest the student elections at Jadavpur University.

Asmita was born in Burdwan in Kolkata and was often ridiculed for her ‘boy-like’ attitude. She faced severe discrimination from her teachers, students as well as from her own family, who did not want to accept her identity.

In an interview with Youth ki Awaaz, Asmita said she came out of the closet because “the society must learn that being a person who has a non-binary identity is nothing against nature.”

She also added that people often do not accept that there is anything called homosexuality. Pondering over the present situation in India, she said that there is no place for the LGBT in Indian society. “It is almost like we don’t even belong in the same place,” she added.

Asmita feels that people need to be taught about gender and sexuality from primary level itself and the fact that sex education is a taboo in India adds to the existing problems of the country.

A student representative and gender rights activist, Asmita aims to make Jadavpur University a more inclusive space.

In a message to those who have not been able to disclose their identity, Asmita said that people should never lose hope. She added that it is the “dictatorship of the society” that tries to bring people down. “But we won’t bow down because, RSS, BJP or Manusmriti cannot decide or dictate our sexuality or freedom,” she said.