I LISTEN to a transgender woman speak and my mind starts to churn.
I keep wondering what I would do if I had a transgender child? Keep her hidden from prying eyes? Hidden from my in-laws, or my own parents for that matter who might insist I send her away? Let my own inhibitions translate into something that my child would see as shame, which would make her hate herself? What would I do if I had to take her to the doctor?
A male patient or female? Admit her in the male ward or female ward? Would I leave her uneducated, alone and vulnerable, and ask her to see me in the middle of the night, so no one would know that I had spawned a monster, who was neither male nor female? Would I secretly without her knowledge give her male hormones crushed in milk? Forcing her body to grow unnaturally and sprout facial hair? Changing something which was created by nature and gifted to me, into something which was more acceptable to society?
She would surely demand answers, and in my mind’s eye I could see myself standing in court and my child questioning me:
“Did I create myself? How am I to blame? Why are you treating me this way? Why can’t I have a normal life? Study, play, have friends, be admitted to places like any normal human being? Don’t I have a right to be just as I am without judgement?
People pretend that I am invisible, and when they are forced to see me they relegate me to the margins, to be seen only through the lens society has created for me; a hijra, transvestite. To be despised as a sex worker ridden with disease, an alcoholic and a drug addict. Little do they know that I can not find employment, people will not hire me, I have to sell my body and submit myself to all kinds of indignity. No, you can not imagine that, when people pinch my cheeks and foul mouths with diseases hold out notes for me to grab with my teeth, or they tuck notes in unimaginable places for me to retrieve. Yes mother, then I drink, what else can I do? How do I save myself from shame?
I have a sick sister, she needed surgery for a sex change. She bled to death. I have been gifted with an identity card and my sex is X. I have no family name, I am alone at the mercy of my Guru. I can not inherit property, besides, would my siblings even acknowledge me? It would take them away from their perfect lives.”
How does one come to terms with this brutality? The stigma attached to the third sex; how do we bring them from the margins to the mainstream? We all have a right to live with dignity, respect, and acceptance.