Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cross Over and Embrace!

The Transgenders in India have been recognized in India, for the first time in the Aadhar Card. Recently their request to be included in Voter ID as transgenders/third gender, has been rejected by the Election Commission in Mumbai. Please see link below.

While the debate on gender continues and really, in all honesty, I oppose ‘labels’ purely because, it is too restrictive, I do hope for more for the transgenders in India.
Recently, I came across a community quite close to my home. They had just been visiting someone’s house in the locality and I was on my way out to work, so only a few words passed between us.

“So, where do you live?” I asked one of them.

“Kalyanpuri.” She answered. I knew my house help too lived there.

“I have a question to ask you,” I continued gingerly. “What do you call yourself?”

“Kinnar… we call ourselves Kinnar.”  She said smilingly, knowing how interested I was in her.

“May I visit you, one day?” I asked.

“Please come!” she said and called out to her friend to give me her visiting card. “The number beneath Sai Baba is mine. The lady on the other side is my Guru.”

“Thank you!” I said politely, my interest shooting up in leaps and bounds. “I will come.”

They were all so beautiful, wearing gorgeous saris and trinkets on their neck, fingers and toes.

There really is something amazing about people you cannot define. They become mysterious to our eyes. And this becomes the source of desire.

Ever since, I met a few transgenders in a close encounter a few years ago, in Bhopal, I have felt a deep seated attraction to them. Of late, working on my third novel, I have places where I needed to research on them, at a very close heart to heart, at home spaces and I was already wondering how I could do that. There is so much literature on them, yet, being with a community, spending time and sharing meals with them, makes a huge contribution to your thoughts.

While issues of visibility plague LGBT movement in India and Laws are still primitive and not supportive, it is hard to keep ones head above the water and fight for recognition, income, and Legal status.  They earn only by ‘blessing’ new born children and are rarely employed with the Government.

I, of course promised to let my Kinnar friends know of every birth in the locality and every marriage! They would calculate the rest. Not too difficult in Delhi, where B follows M, within a year!

On the one hand, transgenders have always been vocal about themselves but we have taken too much time to recognize their presence among us. By giving them no legal status, we force them to marginalized quarters in our cities and towns, where, they are shaded out from the rest of society. 

Their economic status does not improve, because, our society and legal system does not permit them the right to education nor earning a livelihood, just like others. And in this respect, they are far more in hiding, than they would like to be.

Indeed, to include them in our society, we need to embrace them in our lives. We need to open up and challenge ourselves to cross over.

To know more on the Kinnar Community, click Here

EC rejects transgenders demand Here

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