I like nothing about promises, neither making them nor hearing them. Especially in my private life. But what if my private life is being invaded and violated because the party who said they won't allow anyone to hurt me does nothing to stop someone, anyone from hurting me?!
And that's exactly what life is like to be a queer human in Mongolia. Back in November 2010, for the second time in history of Mongolia, the second official, Tsogtbaatar, then Secretary of Foreign Affairs, openly and candidly admitted during the UPR Working Group session of Mongolia to there being rampant discrimination against LGBT people because of our sexual orientations, or because of our gender identities. It was such a ray of hope, fortified by the acceptance of the UPR recommendations by the Government. Euphorically I wrote an article in September 2011 "From zero to hero", still joyfully hopeful of the changes that would come on the footsteps of the UPR promises: promises of protection and equality, coupled with the CAT, CCPR reminders of 2010 and 2011. The first time that the public official admitted to the situation for LGBT people in Mongolia was in October 2008 during the CEDAW session, when Altangerel, then Director of the Department for Policy Implementation Coordination of the Ministry of Justice, responded eloquently, albeit briefly in 3 sentences to the experts' query about discrimination against LBT people in Mongolia as being very real in the Mongolian society because of common mentality of ignorance. An admission never reflected in the Concluding Observations on Mongolia's implementation of the CEDAW thanks to the personal beliefs and values of then country rapporteur, an elderly Bangladeshi lady (who was never reelected to the position of CEDAW expert, but at what price to Mongolia's LBT communities?)...
Forget CEDAW 2008. Remember the UPR 2010 promises, dear elected and public officials?! Nothing came of them. I still hurt because the party that has taken vows allowed this to happen: it broke its promises. I am still hurt, every day, because the Government of Mongolia continues to put down, ignore, sometimes VIOLATE and try to ERASE US from existence. But we are... simply here. Were. Are. Will be. No matter how much you ignore our existence, we are. We were, we will be. Even if up to now I am living with a khadak over my face like a dead human. Not me, literally. Maybe to a certain degree, given the amount of love, respect and admiration I have for my significant other. Indeed, yes me, literally, to a certain degree, because my physical transition left me in an emotional transformation of self-acceptance that also led to the opening up of my desires, and I am now in a relationship with a man for the first time in my life. A very real relationship, with everything that a relationship entails: love, desire, understanding, respect, sometimes jealousy, sometimes small fights, big fights. Mostly tranquil love. Just a real relationship. Just like the ones I've had in my life with women. The body is different, but the desire, the feelings -- same. Karmically, I seem destined for the life experiences of a gay human, sort of. Which shouldn't be a problem as long as I* (I* or we* from hereon meaning an LGBT-identified Mongolian/s) am safe to live and breathe and be as a very queer human, which I* doubt. Because the promises by the Government of Mongolia to me* that it will keep me* safe, that I* am a human and therefore my* pains are human pains, that I* am a human and that therefore my* needs are human needs, are being broken. I* can't be myself* fully because if I* am, if I* walk outside embracing my boyfriend/girlfriend, if I* were to apply for a mortgage with him/her as my* partner, we* would be immediately attacked. Thrown things at. Verbally derided. Sniggered. Spat at. Hit. Punched. Kicked... Or just FORBIDDEN to do those things because our* relationship is not RECOGNISED as a real relationship, as if we* have fake relationships, as if only straight people have real relationships.
Keep the bloody promises. I don't often make them because I am beholden to them. Even if no one knows I am beholden to them, I am. I keep my promises. And this I've always promised: I will leave this world a little better place than I found it. For people like me, who are right now living in fear of discovery, thus ridicule, thus rejection, thus ostracism or violence: physical, verbal, sexual, economic, power... Keep your promises. Or don't make them. I am expecting so much for this UPR 2015, and I am hoping that this time we can work with the Government to make them understand that THEY CAN'T KEEP BREAKING THEIR PROMISES TO US, LGBT FOLK, the biggest linguistically, religiously, ethnically, ability-wise diverse minority of people in Mongolia. Let's work, really work together, LET US HELP YOU IN REALISING THE SPIRIT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF MONGOLIA THAT ALL OF US ARE EQUAL.
Some things I know, have always seemed to know and foresee. Forefeel, more like it. Which is why I don't easily make promises, but if I do, I keep them. Simple.
It's time. You keep your promises. I will keep mine.