Transgender Community – The Outcasts in ‘Indian Chauvinist Society’
(Author’s Note: This piece of writing is a means by which I want to enlighten the people about the sufferings of a transgender and how they are exploited sexually, socially and mentally. This article is meant to be taken in good faith and not intended to hurt any religious sentiments of any person)
I was watching a crime based show and I was horrified seeing the treatment Transgender community receives in our society. Well I have seen transgender people all my life because , it’s a tradition in us Hindus, that whenever there is a wedding or a child birth these people pay a visit , dance , sing and earn some money by blessing the family they are visiting. I never gave much thought to it when I was kid, because I hardly knew about how sceptic and horrible our society is towards this community. As I grew up I realised that our society is a living hell for these people. They are exploited, humiliated and casted out of society and God knows what inhuman behaviour they are subjected to. They are humans like we all are so why has our country been so hostile towards them? Why haven’t they been recognised? Why can’t they be treated equally? Aren’t they human so why are they not getting their rights? These questions are a few among the thousands questions that has shaken the little remaining faith I had in humanity.
Life is not a cake walk for transgender community.
‘Hijra’ is used in India for a class of transgender who are considered sacred, but have been marginalised. When we have a wedding in our home, we love the ‘hijra’ community when they come and bless the newlyweds. A child is born and we intend them to come and bless the new life why? Because the ‘hijras’ are believed to have been endowed with such a power that their blessings can truly bring happiness in a family. Such is their stature that people consider them to bring fertility luck and prosperity. By this I believe that it should mean that the transgender are respected, welcomed and are not in any way looked down upon. But , this is a wishful thinking because , the truth is completely opposite. These people are looked with disgust and are publically humiliated, exploited and tortured not only by the society but , they don’t even get acceptance in their own family not even by the mother who bore them. Life is not easy if you belong to the transgender community. They are exposed to constant bullying, teasing, degrading remarks and out of all used as sexual slaves because people don’t even consider them humans.
Their rights have been long suppressed, overlooked and to be precise have been ignored all the while. On one hand we consider them the harbourers of fertility, good luck and prosperity and on the other hand we banish them from society because we are trapped in our own double standard hypocrisy. The transgender are denied the basic rights and are often subjected to violence. Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is abused by the police authorities and it acts as a tool for them to harass the transgender.
The mainstream society is chauvinist and therefore, for them there exists no place for the transgender. The transgender are forced to leave home and in many cases the family shuns a new born baby so that they do not have bear the shame that a ‘male without maleness’ would bring them if the society came to know about the same. They are forced into prostitution and beggary by the society as it leaves them with no other options for survival. The transgender in India are also often forced to join the Indian Hijra community.
Justice delayed, but surely not denied –
The Supreme Court of India on April 15, 2014, gave a landmark judgment by creating a “third gender” status for the transgender. Before this judgment the transgender were forced to write male or female against their actual gender type. The court judgment enables the hijra community to be treated as socially and economically backwards. The Supreme Court further stated that the transgender will be allowed admissions in educational institutions and given employment on the basis of third gender community. The Supreme Court said absence of law recognising hijras as third gender could not be continued as a ground to discriminate them in availing equal opportunities in education and employment. The Supreme Court has also asked the Centre and State Governments to devise social welfare schemes for third gender, run public awareness and erase the social stigma. The Supreme Court, however, clarified that the verdict does not takes transgender like gay, lesbians and bi-sexual in its ambit and is only applicable to eunuchs.
The delayed recognition of the community by the Parliament –
The Rajya Sabha passed a member’s Bill unanimously a proposed legislation that shall promote the rights of transgender, including reservations and financial aids. The Bill aims at formulation of policies for the upliftment of the transgender. The Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 was passed after its share of turbulence on 24th April, 2015. The Government said it will bring an improved Bill as the Bill passed has a lot of impracticalities and lacunas. This action has filled ever Indian transgender heart with happiness as it was a much awaited step. According to an analysis, 328 Bills related to this issue were introduced in the 14th Lok Sabha and only 14 were discussed in the house.
The Bill was moved by DKM member Tiruchi Siva on 27th February, 2015 in order to discuss the long overdue rights of the transgender people. With an official statistics of around 4 lakh , there is a possibility that there exists more than a million transgender in India , therefore , formulations of a legislation to protect the rights of these persons becomes all the more important.
The Bill introduced by Mr. Siva has 58 clauses and 10 chapters and basically promises the following things:
- Constitution of a Welfare Board.
- Reservations in government jobs
- Social inclusion
- Right to education
- Prevention of abuse and violence
- No discrimination
- Setting up of Transgender Right Courts
- Unemployment allowances and pensions
The passing of the RTP Bill is a sign of advancement of India and its developing sensitivity to the transgender. This was a much awaited step after the Supreme Court’s ruling last year. The government should work and bring awareness and sensitise the public towards the transgender.