Back in my hometown where my grandparents live, a very regular sight that always greets me is, of people coming to meet them, maybe to talk or to borrow something or at still other times to cajole their way into getting some money from the oldies. I keep telling them not to entertain those kinds of people who have their way into securing a gravy train, but they would not lend me an ear.
There is this particular woman, who has been coming for ages now. She lives nearby and pays them a visit every month. Her motive is to get a few pennies the easy way. Since I never support people who want to get money without having to sweat their brows, I never liked her. She always kept raving about her son, who was a dancer, living in another state. It so happened that one fine day, she came and told my grandma that her sons dance recital would be conducted there, in my hometown and she invited all of us to that. Without an afterthought, I agreed to it, because having learnt the art of dance I have always been interested in it, and so irrespective of the person who invited us, I nodded a frantic yes. We watched the program, and wow! I had never seen such grace in a dancer as I saw in him.
After a few years, the lady having visited them in the interim regularly, invited us again to her sons dance. So, yet another performance but her son was nowhere to be seen. When we met her at the venue, my grandma asked her about her son, and she replied the person who performed right then was him, but the only difference being that he wasn’t a “he” anymore but a “she”. Yes, that was the first time I personally had been acquainted with a situation relating to a transgender.
I don’t know if I was being sensitive to such issues that ensued in the future or was the issue growing in number, but they were on the rise and now they have found their own place in our society. The much judgemental society that we are, have been taunting them for long, but they have made their mark and continues to sustain it – the transgender!
My mom, who lived in Mumbai, had been familiar with those people, known to loot a man’s pocket if and when they see him alone. She recounts of having been scared by the loud thuds on the door when she had to be alone in the house with my sister who was too little. But unlike thieves or rapists, they wouldn’t hurt another person.
For a long time now, we have all been daunted by this peculiar group of people who have an ambiguous identity- not pertaining to the male or female category. We often blindfold our children and tell them not to look at them, not to talk to them and never ever to be like them. But do we realise that they form a part of the wider group called humans too? Perhaps they are more humane than the so called, self acclaimed humans who do not have a doubt about their identity.
Recently, I happened to read an article which brought out a very critical situation handled by a transgender. She acted as a midwife, she aided in the delivery of a child into this world, on a train. Having been a nursing student she had the expertise and knowledge to carry it out and so without hesitation carried it out brilliantly. It is quite an eye opener to people who would rather not help in such adverse situations.
One of the major enemies that people, deviant from the common have to confront is society. Well, the society which comprises of US- yes you, me and everyone else; we all have an opinion about each and everything. We do not waver in judging others, be it their personal or professional life. It so feels like, we are the ones who have really reared them into what they are now. “What are you wearing? Don’t you have any sense of shame in you?” or “Why aren’t you getting married? Why do you have to be so career oriented?” or “She got divorced? Definitely something has got to be wrong with her!” are all just examples of how society demeans its members. Now if you think that only girls or women are afflicted with such opinions then, let me tell you- you’re wrong. There is no gender discrimination in being faced with such unworthy opinions of the society.
What they need is acceptance, acceptance of who they are and how they are oriented. They need to be left to live their life on their own terms. While we still have parents around us who shun away from accepting their children belonging to that particular group, that lady from my hometown and another mom who recently let reveal her eighteen year old child’s identity of being a transgender, are heroes, who do not worry about the opinions and views of the society, but rather support their children let live their lives. To let themselves free of the chaos inside their mind, of having to live a life being the opposite gender, that they so not are.
We always talk about not judging a book by its cover. Not to “guess” what would be there inside the book before reading it. I guess the same applies for humans as well- why should we judge someone whom we do not even know? Haven’t even spoken to? Why should they be gauged on the way they dress? Why should we evaluate their worth depending on their sexual identity? Human worth is much above and beyond what appears in front of us, so let them live and flaunt their worth, do not block their journey by rendering your “worthy” opinions. The world is a free space, just as you have the right to live your life, so do they. Respect that!