Since the creation of this universe, the world we live in identifies sexual orientation only in terms of femininity and masculinity. Anything outside this dichotomous orientation is either rejected or considered abnormal across various cultures. Due to this ‘exclusion’, third gender is assigned different gender roles because of their unusual sexual identity which is constructed through these gender roles. The fact that we term them as ‘third gender’ is the irony of the LGBTQIA+ community face. We are so in love with hierarchy that two of obvious genders are dichotomous gender categories and anything beyond that is the ‘third gender’ – the subaltern! I woke up to the news that one of the popular transgender women had passed away. Young soul gone too soon! As my heart sighed I saw people, random loath full people commenting mean things about her death on news articles. As much as I wished to confront all of them one by one to ask what makes them so toxic; I choose to ignore but couldn’t stop wondering why do they spill poison even when someone is dead let alone alive. Transgenders in Kashmir have always faced the brunt mostly likely like most of the other places in India but what bothers me the most is vengeful things coming out of people who are known for their love and hospitality for other. For others but we have always treated them like children of lesser Gods. From using ‘laanch’ as a derogatory term to someone who is meek to not being acceptable to enough to have them in schools or in professions; we as a community have forced them to live on the edge – something that we should be ashamed of. Instead of providing spaces, platforms and voices to them we dare to not even let them die in peace. We as a society are to blame. Passing remarks and calling them funny is so primitive; for something to be funny and a joke both the people should be laughing. If the other person feels offended there is something inherently wrong in your jokes. Haven’t they faced enough already because of our insensitivity. For decades we have pretended as if they don’t exist; not understanding that are the most important thread of our social fabric. Threads that act as conduits to bring two souls together in an only profession they have been accepted in; being matchmakers. I thought and felt that these people who call them humans are nothing but entitled uncivil beings who are so miserable in their own lives that they can’t see and think beti their tunneled vision.
Everyone who detests them in their existence and inhumanly in their death too I just have one question to ask, ‘what makes you a better human than them?’. Belittling someone justifies that God complex people have instead try to be a better human than what you were yesterday. Be humble and have empathy – both go a long way. Hiding behind a screen and spreading toxicity is uncalled for and we are way beyond that. Don’t like something, try to ignore and if that looks tough try to put your word ahead without being derogatory and nasty. That is what makes you civil and a human. She lived a dignified life and I am proud to known her briefly. Her battle was against the whole cultural system that subjugated her identity and worsened her situation. Her life was stigmatized and stereotyped continuously because of the lack of acceptance that we have. Transgender people like her and many others are still denied any ‘space’ and ‘voice’ in mainstream society. They are at the bottom even in the hierarchical structure of gender roles. Their social, political, cultural and economic life is highly affected by their stereotyped images that have been perpetuated in the name of the so called culture and tradition over decades now. They suffer humiliation and discrimination throughout their life by their family and society at large be it education, employment, legal recognition, health service or right to live a decent life. From them the trauma starts at an early age where they struggle to understand their gender orientation. To make things worse their disagreement on the traditional gender roles makes them vulnerable to abuses from family and society. The threatening environment even in school forces them to drop out fearing mockery and harassment. The harassment just doesn’t stop there; they are harassed at every level of life which results in alienation from social participation and hence leads to mental trauma and depression. Being uneducated and fearful of social participation leaves them with a few livelihood options with a meager amount to earn making them more vulnerable. A trauma that you and I can never understand.So for the love of God at least let her rest in peace, period.
(The author is a freelancer and frequently writes for this newspaper. The views, opinions, facts, assumptions, presumptions and conclusions expressed in this article are those of the author but aren’t necessarily in accord with the views of “Kashmir Horizon”.)