Docu-drama ‘Ma Ma Hoina’ depicts daily struggle of Nepali LGBT
By Arpana Adhikari
Kathmandu, Mar 17
“I’m tired of hiding things from everyone. My family is ashamed of me and my sexuality. My mother thinks I’m sick and that once I get married, this sickness will be cured. My father hasn’t seen my face for ages. I couldn’t open up about being gay because my own family doesn’t accept me.”
These are a few lines from the docu-drama on Nepali LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) group, directed by filmmaker Elum Dixit, screened at the 5th Nepal Human Rights International Film Festival on Friday.
The documentary, Ma Ma Hoina, touched a chord with the younger audience, who were present at the hall of the Nepal Tourism Board, Kathmandu.
This 80-minute feature film length docu-drama is evidence as to how people of the LGBT community in Nepal are fighting with the family and society for their recognition.
The director of the movie has tried to expose the struggles of the LGBT community due to homophobic society. The movie features a 27-year-old gay, Abhishek of Kathmandu, who was forcefully married to a village girl to hide his sexuality from the society.
His mother believes he is suffering from some kind of mental illness, and once he marries a girl, his illness will be cured. For his parents, marrying a girl is proof that he is a complete man. But things turn the opposite.
Both Abhishek and his wife suffer because of their parents’ decision. After years of struggle, he decides to stop hiding the fact that he is a gay and sets his wife free from their failed marriage.
This movie serves a real example of the fear-psychosis, abuse, extortion and ill-treatment of the society toward the LGBT community.
Since being gay, or LGBT, was a crime in Nepali society, it took the main character of the movie a long time to openly speak up about his identity. The film draws close attention to their daily struggles and also to bring awareness about the gay community who have a different sexual orientation.
Peter Tamang, counselor at Blue Diamond Society, said the story is somehow related to his life. Like the character of the movie, he was engaged to a girl. After being in a relation for a year with the girl, he realised that he had to open up about his sexuality.
“That one year I was seeing the girl was suffocating. Even during that period I was confused about my sexuality. I tried hard to be normal, but I felt myself trapped. Then I realised that I could never be happy with a girl,” said Tamang, who is proud to openly claim he is gay.
Tamang said that this was not the story of one Abhishek and Peter only. “There are many gay people in the country who are reeling under the pressure of an intolerant society.
“They are forced into marriage just to show the society that they are a complete man. But many gays, even those who have grandchildren, are regretting not living according to their sexuality,” he said.
“As a counselor, I have to deal with such cases daily. Everyday, 2-3 gay people call or come to visit me for counseling. They are depressed; they are broken and not happy with their life. But still they cannot come out openly,” he said.
“I am the only one to speak out openly about my sexuality on a television show. It was quite hard to convince my family. But even tougher was to make our society understand that every individual has a different sexual orientation while still being the same,” added Tamang.
Tamang is hopeful that the new generation will help to change society’s perception and attitude toward LGBT people.