Transgender women and cis gender women share the same experiences in life of being treated differently in a male privileged society. Transgenders who transition to becoming a female from a male, face the same level if not more gender harassment from the heterosexual male.
This harassment and exclusion for a transgender woman can sometimes be severe.
The subjugation is similar for women across. The shame and stigma attached with a single marriageable woman, or a woman not being able to give birth to children or the mother who births a transgender child, all fall under the same biased scrutiny of society. They are not spared of the insinuation and hatred.
Battle For Acceptance Is Equal For All
Families will do anything to hide a transgender child so that they are not questioned or humiliated by others. The birth of a transgender person, the couple takes it as a personal failure and react to the situation in the most unhealthy manner.
This in turn damages the minor transgender children who do not understand the reason for the partiality that their siblings or friends receive in their first place of security, which is home.
It is a known fact that in many homes transgender women are not included in their own family functions. It is also the same for a young widow. Among many conservative communities, a widow is considered inauspicious in a wedding. It is believed she may bring bad luck.
A cis gender woman who may have difficulty in having a child is not spared the humiliation. The name calling is vicious. Older women are called hags. So women try every possible method to remain visible by dressing younger and hiding her age.
It is the same for transgenders. An older trans woman is called a tranny.
These slurs are uttered nonchalantly by many people sans the slightest regret or empathy.
Many heterosexual men refer to feminists as the bra burning brigade. Making it look like, as though it is only the burnt bra that can solve issues of sexual harassment, lack of space given in public places, name calling, constant abuse by men on the streets and also at home.
Catcalling that women receive on streets is the same for transgender women. Trans women are not just catcalled but they are openly touched inappropriately in public places.
Talking to Shivamani, who hails from Karnataka,(name changed) said, “my mother has warned, to only enter my home after dusk. She is worried that my sisters will not get married, if my neighbours know about my gender identity. I wish it was different, I miss being able to live freely at home”.
Transgenders like Shivamani has accepted their fate. They have learnt to not question the bias.
India has nearly four lakh, eighty eight thousand transgender persons, as per the 2011 Census. With such a large number of transgenders in India, we hope that one day feminists and transgender activists understand that this is a common battle, collectively for women together.
The path ahead from darkness to light, can be brighter with more torches joining together, to walk that extra mile, towards an equal and accepting society.
Mohua Chinappa is an author and a podcaster. Views are the author’s own.
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