Sunday, 3 February 2013

Identity

Couple of days ago while on phone my youngest sister told me she was writing something about transgenders and wanted to get it published in the news paper. Transgenders? I asked...why u dont approve of me meeting with them and writing about them? she asked No...I said...Im just amazed at you for going on selecting such a topic. Glad you aint the potato head bimbo I have always thought u were ....I indeed appreciate your effort of trying to create some awareness about it. To which she took an offense...hah.. kids !!!...I asked her for a copy which she sent me promptly. Im posting her piece here coz I feel we all share the responsibility...

HE…SHE…IT…NO PLACE FOR SHIM???


Recently I and some of my friends made a short documentary on transgenders to participate in a documentary competition among different sections of my batch in University. For this reason we went to visit a few transvestites. I never knew where they lived but after using some contacts we planned a meeting at their place in Muhalla Nawaban of Bahawalpur city and later we met one in Mohalla derawari, in the same city. Passing through the narrow arteries I could see open drains and human waste all around me. After talking to Sahiba, sapna, and a few others I gathered some facts about this gender and the exploitation of their rights. Sahiba, the president of transgender society in Bahawalpur started the conversation by saying:

“God created us as He created all. We are born of a father and a mother as all rest, yet we are different. Our families may be ashamed of us but we know He loves us and that is why we don’t feel disgusted about ourselves. They don’t call us normal but we feel more normal than normal because we don’t let anything get us down. What doesn’t kill us just makes us stronger.”

 There I felt how ignored and marginalized they are…even their parents disown them because of the scorn they have to face from family, friends and neighborhood. In some cases if the parents don’t leave them, they feel beatnik and join the transgender community by will because among their own breed they are free to let their spirits out. This is how all these left alones make one big family for their survival. Further she said:

“I have faded memories of my mother hiding me in her arms when my father would beat me for wearing my sister’s make up and dressing up like her…I have that warm refuge no more that can hide me from this cruel world. Sometimes I wish I could lie down in her loving embrace and die.”

We see many organizations working for the under privileged but maybe the word doesn’t refer to transgenders. There are only a few organizations made by the transgender community, which are striving for their rights. Why? Only because they don’t belong to either of the two genders or that they fail to conform to the stereotypical so called norms of our society. On a question about dancing she said:

“We dance for the happiness of people we never dance over a funeral…we are not involved in terrorism neither do we kill people. We just dance and that’s not a crime.”

Many of the Mulla’s and fundamentalists call them fitna and object on their life style. In Pakistan when a person reveals that he has a soul of another gender trapped in his body he is taken as a stigma. Another astonishing fact revealed by Sahiba was:

“There are some transgenders who have long beards, they wear male clothes and have respect in the society but when they meet us they say “aur saheli tera kiya haal hai?” They talk to us like they belong here.”

Islam talks about equality and rights, nowhere in Quran are transgenders said to be treated the way they are treated by the torch bearers of Islam. We simply fail to understand that there are certain attributes inherited by some males or females from the opposite gender. They don’t do it by choice, it’s rather innate. It could either be physical or psychological. Sexual orientation does not always necessarily align with a person’s appearance. When asked about how they feel, a transvestite said:

We feel like females from inside, we are inclined towards males but in our community we consider it immoral to touch another transgender. Males spend time with us, they love us but to save themselves from humiliation they never introduce us to their family and one day leave us saying the same patent sentence we hear all our lives that we are haram.”

The only source of earning a livelihood with an additional benefit of fulfilling their sexual needs is prostitution. We don’t leave them with a choice. If they are given the right to get married with a bit of social acceptance and education, they can turn out to be productive members of our society, instead of being a dead weight on the economy which is already hanging by a thread. Sapna said:

“Some of us want to start a business, open a salon or a boutique, some want to work in showbiz, we are perfect for these jobs. We have a “double mind” and are very hard working. Some want to study like I do but many of us take our dreams to grave.
Still we are happy with what we do. Dancing is a hard job. A normal person loses breath after dancing for an hour we dance barefooted on wet floors for hours.”

Transgenders in Pakistan are still deprived of basic human rights. If a girl gets raped people unleash upon the culprit but who cares when a transgender loses his dignity? Our society jumps on to the conclusion that their deviance from Islam and societal norms has lead them to a point where people take advantage of them.

Sahiba further said: “ When someone from our community dies molvi sahibaan refuse to offer our Namaz e Janazah because they think its haram”

The identity of approximately 80000 transgenders was denied for 64 years in Pakistan Recognition of their identity is just a baby step towards the rehabilitation of this social group. On a question regarding the issuance of ID’s she said:

“Chief Justice allotted us the right to self identification. Before that we were non existent for this so called humanistic society. But most of us still haven’t got ids. It is red tape.”

Chief Justice of Pakistan gave them the right of employment but will this really help when they are not educated in the first place? They face workplace discrimination. People don’t offer them jobs at home because they are considered hateful and untouchable. They are confused in which attire to choose in order to observe the dress code. Eventually they are forced into begging and prostitution as they need to fulfill their very basic need of food and shelter. 

A transgender said “ People give us coins in alms but for prostitution they offer us more

We first exploit them and then blame them for not maintaining their dignity. The fact is none of us is a seraph, when we have acceptance for those who are special then why can’t we create some acceptance for them?
One of the transgenders sitting next to sahiba asked me a question that left me speechless....she asked…”Could you please tell me the gender of an angel?” Are they males or females….and I felt as if I have shrank in my clothes and become a dwarf in front of her. I could see her eyes getting wet…in a shaky voice she continued:

“When a druggie , a thief ,a rapist is accepted as part of a family, part of this society then why cant people accept us? You accept your brother if he gets out of a filthy drain but you never accept us….are we that bad? We may have the wrong body but our soul comes as pure as any other of the God’s beloved creation. You can’t give us love but some respect?”

I am not a writer but I found it my social responsibility to highlight their issues. I think Government should make separate schools and colleges for transsexuals where they can get proper education and learn some skills other then dancing. With that there should be a chapter on transgenders in the syllabus of elementary schools which creates a sense of acceptability and respect for the third gender among children. This will make our future generations treat transgender as equals.  

Ik zara muhabbat
Bas zara si izzat
Ik nazar pyar ki
Mujhay aur kuch nhi sirf ehsas chhaiye
Is dil ki bas yehi tamanna hai
mera wajud namehsoos sey mehsoos ho jaye
jo shanakht na mansoob thi kabhi mansoob ho jaye







7 comments:

  1. Really good work, both interview and the writing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey,
    Just dropped by to say 'Hi' and that I've tagged you, and awarded you .
    Congratulations. :)

    Please check the below link for details :

    The Shaded Shadows !!!

    Keep Writing.
    Take Care. :)

    Thanks.
    - Ajay Kontham

    ReplyDelete
  3. Tagging you for the same award

    http://a-shared-thought.blogspot.ca/2013/02/liebster-award.html Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://a-shared-thought.blogspot.ca/2013/03/creative-blogger-award.html

      Delete
  4. transgenders are actually very lucky..since they have no attachment hence no selfishness. But this maya (my new post) turns things around.

    ReplyDelete
  5. And another award

    http://a-shared-thought.blogspot.ca/2013/05/passin-on-love.html

    ReplyDelete