In India, we treat the boys and girls differently and that is where the biased treatment towards the particular gender begins. We have set the benchmarks, the girls would behave in the particular fashion otherwise, is not accepted by our society. Girls mixing in boys considered to be an irresponsible or cheap behavior similarly, the boys crying is considered to be girly behavior. The both the thinkings are completely wrong. The most important part is when a girl says no, that means “NO” but in our country, No is also considered as YES which is completely wrong. To overcome this, the government of Indian has decided to form an organization called SATHIYA which will deal with this problem and educate the adolescents.
The homosexuality is not legal in our country. The judiciary and government are yet to change the law but resource material prepared by the Health Ministry for adolescent peer educators has taken a step in the sensitive direction, claims the sources. According to the studies, it is all right to “feel attraction” for the opposite sex or the same sex during adolescence. The crucial aspects of all such relationships, it says, are consent and respect. The meaning of consent is No means NO and respecting the feelings and privacy of each other is most important. In a bid to reach out to 26 crore adolescents in the country on health issues, the Ministry has decided to involve 1.65 lakh peer educators called “Saathiya”.
To bring the improvement in the society and to reduce the crimes related to the sexual orientation or attractions the peer education is a most important step that is taken by the Indian government. For the youngsters, falling in love is a regular affair and they cannot hold themselves back for long, says the sources.
“Yes, adolescents frequently fall in love. They can feel attraction for a friend or any individual of the same or opposite sex. It is normal to have special feelings for someone. It is important for adolescents to understand that such relationships are based on mutual consent, trust, transparency, and respect. It is alright to talk about such feelings to the person for whom you have them but always in a respectful manner… Boys should understand that when a girl says ‘no’ it means no,” reads the resource material in Hindi that is going to be circulated to states as part of the adolescent peer-education plan.
According to the records, there are 26 crore adolescents exists in our country which needed to be educated and In a bid to reach out to all the 26 crore adolescents in the country on health issues, the Ministry has decided to involve 1.65 lakh peer educators called “Saathiya”. The resource kit prepared for these educators that were unveiled by Health Secretary C K Mishra on Monday not only treats the issue of same-sex attraction with unusual maturity but also talks about contraception and gender-based violence in great detail.
According to Mr. C K Mishra, the government is providing the training to the peer educators under the RKSK (Rashtriya Kishor Swasthya Karyakram) “Despite the expansion of media, there are many unanswered questions in the minds of young people in villages. Saathiya will address these questions. We are also talking about behavioral change and a change in thinking,” Mishra said.
According to the sources, treating the boys as “sissy” who cries and Girls as “Tomboy” is not the proper way of handling the adolescents, says the report. The resource material prepared in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund also dispels gender stereotypes in the section on mental health where it says it is fine for boys to cry and categorizations such as “sissy” and “tomboy” are inappropriate.
“A boy can cry to give vent to his feelings. He can also be soft-spoken or shy. Being rude and insensitive is not a sign of masculinity. It is alright for boys to like things like cooking and designing that are normally associated with girls; adopting the role of the other gender does not mean that he is not male. The same applies for girls who talk too much or like to dress like boys or play games like boys. It is wrong to label such people as ‘sissy’ or ‘tomboy’.”
The section also deals with addiction, smoking, and alcohol laying down their short and long-term harmful effects and also deals with conflict resolution. The section on reproductive health has information not just about HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases but also exhaustive information on contraceptive options (pills, condoms, IUCDs etc) for both boys and girls, listing masturbation as one of the topmost options for practicing “safe sex”. It also has information on abortion and the need for parental or consent of guardian for girls younger than 18 years who want to undergo an abortion.
The peer educators who will be trained by the health department with the help of the resource material given out by the Centre will do voluntary work but will be entitled to a “non-monetary” payment of Rs 50 per month, in the form of magazine subscriptions or mobile recharge or any other means as decided by the state, said the sources.