Building a society that includes transgender persons

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About a month ago, I had an unsolicited experience that made me curious, and I wanted to share the same with you. I met a group of transgender people. They have communication networks through which they come to know about auspicious occasions and happenings such as marriages and baby showers. They come to such events and ask for money in return for their blessings. They also travel around in buses or trains to make money. Something very similar happened in my case.

They came to my home and asked for eleven thousand rupees. I was curious. The first question that came to my mind was, “Why do they want money? Can’t they earn it?” That was the first time I saw them so carefully and stood there. They had ‘dhols,’ and string instruments with them, and all of them were dancing, luring us to pay the money. They had a FIXED RATE and were not ready to grant concessions at all. We were reluctant to pay as the amount appeared huge. 

When we refused to pay, they started giving ‘duas’ (blessings) to my sister-in-law, who was pregnant and also for the upcoming marriage. Some of my family members said, “De do, nahi toh ye log bura maan jayenge!” (Give them, otherwise, they will feel bad). They believed that the blessings and curses of the transgender community are very powerful. I thought if it was that powerful, why didn’t they bless themselves with a better way of living? Soon after that, one of them came in front and suddenly undressed and revealed her private parts before my whole family. She said they are incapable of having a family and a job, so they came to our home to get some money. And this is the only option they have to survive. After this, we gave them all the money and sweets, and they went. 

To clarify, Transgender (trans) has categories including trans man and a trans woman. Trans man is a person who is assigned female at birth, and a trans woman is assigned male at birth. Transgender men can get periods. Some of them who have functioning ovaries can become pregnant. They have breasts just like a female. Their mental state and behavior start changing significantly from a period of 6 years to 16 years of age. The trans woman who does not want to be perceived as a male gets hormones like testosterone blockers, which help them increase their estrogen levels. Some even get their testicles removed so that the number of medicines can be decreased. And a lesser amount of medications is always preferred as per the doctor. 

They come under the third gender category. Because they do not fit into our simple gender binary, they face a lot of social stigma and hardships. Just because they are coming in the 3rd gender category, it must not make someone incapable or their life meaningless. That gender is not an issue, and they can make it big, has been proved by a lot of trans people, including Caitlyn Jenner, Laverne Cox, K Prithika Yashini, Sathyashri Sharmila and many more. The journey of these personalities was never a secure way. Fighting with a lot of social struggles and overcoming all of them to get stable and earn a name was quite difficult. 

Now when I found out how positive and successful Transgender can be, I was got worried about the conditions of the people that came to my home. And soon after this, I found out that they aren’t entirely wrong. In India, they do get ill-treatment in society. They are not even preferred or seen as normal humans. Finding a job is far too difficult for them. Also, getting accommodations in public places is a difficult task. And this is certainly ridiculous! So, from ancient times transgender people usually get separated from their family who disowns them and joins other transgender people with whom they could live freely, feel that they aren’t abnormal, and live with peace. Some even get into prostitution in order to feed themselves. When they don’t do that, the only option left was asking money from people! 

The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014, has been proposed, which seeks to end the discrimination faced by transgender people in India. Similarly, Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019, provides protection of rights of transgender persons, their welfare, and other related matters. It is visioned that this could make a difference by securing the rights of Transgender. But will it make a difference in how society thinks and perceive them? Did they receive respect soon after the bill got passed? I don’t think this happens in so little time. They are still struggling with similar issues, forbidden everywhere and shamed upon. The harassment they would be going through is still beyond explanation.

Why do you think some are still stuck in the bog called society who pulls them down every time? Why are they still struggling to understand the meaning of their own life? Around 50% of Transgender end up committing suicide, being confused about their self. This all points to one thing: Education. If all of us are adequately educated about the sensitive topics around us, the one going through them would live with peace and get a feeling of being understood. It all starts with you, only you! 

Featured Image Credits: NBC News

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