Humane Trans Persons in Pandemic Times
It is quite disheartening to watch and read the news of our brethren dying due to the virus, more so because some of them are known to us, dear to us, and that the dying has no place to be cremated in peace. The bodies seen floating in Bihar in the river Ganga were depressing and alarming. And amidst this, the news that gave me hope is of the twelve Trans women in Chennai who got together and served free food. The Trans Community Kitchen helps the people who cannot afford food. They help those stranded on the road. Anish, Aruvi, Sharan Karthik, and Srijith were the first four who began this venture.
Their service-mindedness and willingness to help the poor irrespective of what the society around them says and thinks have earned them respect all over the country. They begin working from 4.30 am and finish by 9 pm. No doubt that there are many others doing a wonderful job but these minorities receive less recognition and representation than they deserve in the media.
When I first heard the news of the Transgender community doing this marvelous job I looked at them as just human beings. They are different and that is what society needs to accept. They deserve dignity and respect which we have failed to give them oftentimes.
Similar to Humane Trans Persons in Pandemic Times:
An Advertisement by Bhima Jewellers appeared last month with a social statement ‘Pure as Love’ portraying a real trans woman, Meera Singhania who in the digital story is accepted and supported by her family. For the first time, Trans women will have a hope of being advertised and recognized and normalized in society. The advertisement did not receive the support that it needed.
Many criticized it as a gimmick to draw attention. Some suggested that if Bhima Jewellers is interested in the Trans persons then they need to do something for their cause and not just represent them for selfish gains. When that seems to be fair reasoning, the question of who will represent the transgender best disturbs us. Conversations on authentic representations are endless. But what needs to be appreciated in the current age and time is the effort of Bhima Jewellers to start a conversation in this regard, although there is an ample chance of the issue fizzling away.
Our society has not yet accepted the idea of Trans persons enjoying a normal life which they truly deserve. Love and acceptance are what they need whether it is in societal life, education, career opportunities, or sports.
Shyamala P is another solid example of how Trans women or Trans persons need us to deconstruct our minds. Shyamala P a transgender herself runs Trans catering in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchendur district. At first, she had an idli cart at a railway station outside the town, but the transphobic restaurant owners around, along with the panchayat members forced her to vacate the place. But she stood her ground and didn’t give up what she knew best i.e. cooking. At present, she cooks for over 2000 – 3000 guests and is famous in Tiruchendur.
Beoncy Laishram, another Trans woman and Covid warrior, is Northeast’s first transgender doctor and a beacon of hope for the marginalized Nupi Maanbi (Trans woman) community. Dr. Aqsa Shaikh, the only transgender to head a Covid vaccination centre at the HAHC Hospital, India. She happens to be an inspiration to people around her. Dr. Aqsa did not have it easy when she had to hide her gender for 18 years as a child and then come out as Trans Woman.
We often boast of St. Paul undertaking three successful missionary journeys and his attempt at preaching to the Gentiles. He preached and often said that God is for all. St. Peter too agreed with him and said, “I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism, but welcomes those from every nation who fear Him and do what is right” (Acts 10:34-35). Irrespective of who the followers of Jesus were they received the Holy Spirit in abundance. Only the followers needed to be receptive. If so, who are we to judge? We must embrace the differences and welcome them wholeheartedly.
All are the children of God. And therefore these ostracized children, the Trans persons need us to accept them today more than ever. They too are human. Society is changing and therefore today we have Trans persons in every field of life, whether it is in education, science, entrepreneurship, print and broadcast journalism, etc.
Gender is a complex term that needs attention and understanding. If one has not understood its intricacies one loses the point. Judith Butler may shed light as to how Gender is continued construction and work in progress. But if we aren’t receptive enough to the uniqueness that humanity possesses then we have already lost the battle we didn’t start. Deconstruction isn’t easy either but slowly and steadily it is happening.
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