Risque Diversity Statement - Second draft!

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Anonymous User
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Risque Diversity Statement - Second draft!

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 30, 2013 6:34 pm

The extent of most Pakistanis’ encounters with drag culture is shooing away a hijra (“eunuch” – a colloquialism that includes all members of the LGBT community) as she raps on their car window at a traffic light. Mine occurred a fortnight into my freshman year of college. A friend insisted I accompany her to [Name] College’s rendition of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Some heavy coaxing also managed to convince me to dress the part, after all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Three wardrobe changes and one botched make-up session later, I teetered towards the auditorium in unnecessarily dangerous stilettos, armed with a newfound respect for women who wear eight-inch heels. Intrigue evolved into fascination and for the next three years running, I hosted the show as “Ferocia Elegante.”

Initially I struggled with identity crises; my mind awash with concerns regarding what this meant for my sexuality, how it would affect my marriage prospects, and whether I would become the black sheep of my family – the questions any Frontier-bred, heteronormative South Asian male with a drag alter ego would ask. Pakistani men, especially those from the Frontier Province, are groomed to exhibit a certain degree of masculinity, tempered with homophobia. The notion of experimenting with one’s sexuality is considered sacrilege. As a result of this polarity, I struggled to reconcile an alpha-male persona with my penchant for snake-prints and fishnets. My immediate reaction was to stow these concerns away in the same dark corner I intended to keep those eight-inch stilettos, never to be revisited.

My parents were inadvertently introduced to Ferocia as a result of [Name’s] annual “Gender Blender.” The men’s [sports] team had been asked to perform as backup dancers for the show’s host. The video was on YouTube within hours and I received a call from my family the next day. “So… you’re a Hijra?” Being forced to defend drag before my parents also exemplified the need to desegregate these two disparate facets of my life. Rather than bifurcating my personality, I had to find a balance between the two cultural extremes. Dressing in drag willy-nilly was socially unacceptable, but simply accepting the heteronormative expectations placed on me would compromise my integrity. My decision to return to Pakistan and approach our own hijra culture with a more discerning eye was influenced by this desire.

Upon returning to Islamabad, I befriended a local hijra. “Bijli”, whose name means “electricity” in Urdu, is our equivalent of RuPaul. When I expressed my desire to experience drag culture in Pakistan, Bijli was thrilled at the prospect of an English speaking addition to her “flock.” I quickly learnt that drag queens in the United States and hijras in Pakistan are worlds apart. In stark juxtaposition to the glamour that divas enjoy abroad, dancing in the streets and begging is the only respectable way for hijras to earn a living here. My first experience in drag was humbling as I was exposed to more catcalls, groping (rather violently, on one occasion), and solicitations for prostitution than I would care to make a record of.

Driving home, I was stopped at a police checkpoint and asked for identification. The constable sneered that hijras were not permitted to own a driver’s licenses and threatened to confiscate mine. Breaking character, I informed him that the Pakistani Supreme Court recently issued a decision granting hijras the rights to national identification cards and subsequently, driver’s licenses. A fact he completely disregarded while pocketing my license and issuing me a ticket for driving without a valid license. The next morning, I arrived at the police station in a three piece suit, and the disparity in my treatment the previous night was farcical. The very same constable sheepishly returned my license and apologetically offered “I thought you were a gay.” I cannot claim that a legal degree will ensure that I earn hijras the identities they deserve. It will however, allow me contribute in a more meaningful manner than dancing with a begging bowl or rattling off landmark precedents to bigoted law enforcement personnel.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:45 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Ramius
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Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 12:39 am

Re: Diversity statement on a risque topic.

Postby Ramius » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:03 pm

You went into far too much detail here. You can and should provide some details to give context to what you're showcasing as your DS, but including platitudes and cliches as well as going into specifics about the drag culture just did too much.

You can trim down throughout this statement and still present that you have a unique voice. Shoot for ~1.5 pages double spaced. You want to showcase how you are unique, not drag on through it until the reader is bored by it. The DS needs to be sleek, streamlined and pack a quick punch.

Anonymous User
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Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Diversity statement on a risque topic.

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Oct 31, 2013 1:41 pm

Thanks! Would you mind being a little specific about where it goes overboard?

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AOT
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Joined: Mon Oct 21, 2013 4:34 pm

Re: Risque Diversity Statement - Second draft!

Postby AOT » Sun Nov 03, 2013 10:29 am

Anonymous User wrote:The extent of most Pakistanis’ encounters with drag culture is shooing away a hijra (“eunuch” – a colloquialism that includes all members of the LGBT community) as she raps on their car window at a traffic light. Mine - (maybe make more clear here e.g. "my first encounter") occurred a fortnight into my freshman year of college. A friend insisted I accompany her to [Name] College’s rendition of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”. Some heavy coaxing also managed to convince me to dress the part, after all, when in Rome, do as the Romans do (cliche, cut). Three wardrobe changes and one botched make-up session later, I teetered towards the auditorium in unnecessarily dangerous stilettos, armed with a newfound respect for women who wear eight-inch heels. Intrigue evolved into fascination and for the next three years running, I hosted the show as “Ferocia Elegante.”

Initially I struggled with identity crises; my mind awash with concerns regarding what this meant for my sexuality, how it would affect my marriage prospects, and whether I would become the black sheep of my family – the questions any Frontier-bred, heteronormative South Asian male with a drag alter ego would ask. Pakistani men, especially those from the Frontier Province, are groomed to exhibit a certain degree of masculinity, tempered with homophobia. The notion of experimenting with one’s sexuality is considered sacrilege. As a result of this polarity, I struggled to reconcile an alpha-male persona - (yuck. Maybe this is just be personally, but 'alpha male persona' makes you sound like an arse. Maybe reconciling your upbringing with your penchant... would be better?) with my penchant for snake-prints and fishnets. My immediate reaction was to stow these concerns away in the same dark corner I intended to keep those eight-inch stilettos, never to be revisited.

My parents were inadvertently introduced to Ferocia as a result of [Name’s] annual “Gender Blender.” The men’s [sports] team had been asked to perform as backup dancers for the show’s host. The video was on YouTube within hours and I received a call from my family the next day. “So… you’re a Hijra?” Being forced to defend drag before my parents also exemplified the need to desegregate these two disparate facets of my life. Rather than bifurcating my personality, I had to find a balance between the two cultural extremes. Dressing in drag willy-nilly was socially unacceptable, but simply accepting the heteronormative expectations placed on me would compromise my integrity. My decision to return to Pakistan and approach our own hijra culture with a more discerning eye was influenced by this desire.

Upon returning to Islamabad, I befriended a local hijra. “Bijli”, whose name means “electricity” in Urdu, is our equivalent of RuPaul (superfluous, cut) . When I expressed my desire to experience drag culture in Pakistan, Bijli was thrilled at the prospect of an English speaking addition to her “flock.” (this too, cut!) I quickly learnt that drag queens in the United States and hijras in Pakistan are worlds apart. In stark juxtaposition to the glamour that divas enjoy abroad, dancing in the streets and begging is the only respectable way for hijras to earn a living here. My first experience in drag was humbling as I was exposed to more catcalls, groping (rather violently, on one occasion) hmm, don't have much time now, but think there must be a better, more succinct way to phrase this, without the brackets, and solicitations for prostitution than I would care to make a record of.

Driving home, I was stopped at a police checkpoint and asked for identification. The constable sneered that hijras were not permitted to own a driver’s licenses and threatened to confiscate mine. Breaking character, I informed him that the Pakistani Supreme Court recently issued a decision granting hijras the rights to national identification cards and subsequently, driver’s licenses. A fact he completely disregarded while pocketing my license and issuing me a ticket for driving without a valid license. The next morning, I arrived at the police station in a three piece suit, and the disparity in my treatment the previous night was farcical. The very same constable sheepishly returned my license and apologetically offered “I thought you were a gay.” I cannot claim that a legal degree will ensure that I earn hijras the identities they deserve. It will however, allow me contribute in a more meaningful manner than dancing with a begging bowl or rattling off landmark precedents to bigoted law enforcement personnel.



I think this is an incredibly interesting story, you have really good stuff here! However, I agree with the poster who said that there are parts that could be cut down. I also think you could make the parts about your identity struggle, and the discrimination you faced in Pakistan speak to the reader a bit more. I'm writing an identity/sexuality diversity statement myself (muslim and lesbian) so it's great to get to read yours! I'd be happy to talk more over PM if you'd like to.




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