The constitution of India, provides the right to life and equality to all the citizens of the country irrespective of caste, colour, sex, creed, language and other variables. The gender orientation of a person should not interfere with a person’s survival in a healthy and congenial atmosphere. The society has created standards of normalcy and any deviation from the same invites criticisms and intolerance. It is high time we understand that there is no universal or rational understanding of the society. What is ‘normal’ or ‘right’ for one person may be ‘abnormal’ and ‘wrong’ for the other. We live in heterogeneity, ruptures, fragmentations as well as plurality. It becomes our duty to provide the marginalised sections a healthy atmosphere to grow. The world needs greater acceptance.
Transgender people are those who fail to identify with the sex assigned to them at birth. They have been present irrespective of time and space. They do not conform to the strict bipolar division between ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’.
Here are a few ways in which we can support transgender in our society and contribute to making their lives better:
Accept diversities: Just like you have the right to live your life your way, transgender do too. It is perfectly normal to have a transgendered orientation and for god’s sake do not call it a disease. Every person has the right to explore one’s orientation which is a part of their personality development. Allow people to express themselves without discrimination.
Be open to communication: Stereotypes do more harm than good. Allow room for discussing issues so that they can access opportunities just like the rest of us. Be sensitive to how a transgender would like to be addressed as. Do not be judgemental and accept their way of expressing themselves.
Be open to learning: Try and obtain information about gender issues rather than negating anything that does not conform to standard bipolarity. History accepts existence of the other gender identity. Several temple and historical sculptures bear testimony to the same. Get your facts right before giving in to hatred and phobic attitudes. There’s a lot to understanding than rigid adherence to your narrow beliefs.
Maintain confidentiality: When transgender people disclose their identity to you, respect that. Abstain from breaching their trust. As it is, social norms put tremendous pressure upon them and adding to it, breaking their trust might lead to serious consequences. If at all it becomes necessary in the favour of that person, first seek their permission.
Provide a platform for help: The deplorable condition of transgender people subjects them to torture, harassment, physical violence and abuse and even rape. For young people who are struggling with their gender identity it is necessary that support and help is provided through emergency assistance during crisis.
Access to opportunities: At times, things might be confusing. Do not hesitate to communicate with the person. Allow them to have access to education and employment to support themselves. Let them access bathrooms and even choose their teams without gender biases. Respect their right to choose what fits them best. “One identity fits all” is a wrong way to ensure liberty and equality in the society.
Nonetheless, treat them as humans above everything else. No special treatment required. Treat them like everyone else. Above all. an individual in a society of equals.
Born and brought up in India, Anushree's thoughts have been conditioned by a surrounding diverse in all aspects. She aspires to travel round the world and have a taste of the culture, food and music. Her Masters in Political Science has given her a reality check as to where India stands in enlightening its womenfolk. Writing gives her the freedom to materialize her ideas and allow people to sneak into her mind. She finds it fun and liberating.