01 Jun The Gender in Third Place
While commuting in a local train, on a usual day, I heard a hijrah (eunuch) jabbering as she moved her hand over one head to another. Within a few seconds I heard a yell followed by few gibberish comments passed on the hijrah who was begging there. “Why don’t you people work”, he said, “Hasn’t the government done enough for you already? Or is it that you find begging more convenient over working”, he added. I was held still on that comment, before I could reach for a coin in my purse.
True isn’t it? I thought for a while. Aren’t transgenders an accepted part of our society by now, with an addition of the third gender group? Or is that all that it requires to make them one of us?
And has the government done anymore more than just adding another box in front of the gender coloumn of an official forms?
An article published in the Mumbai Mirror the other day, read that a transgender activist – Alisha – was shot seven times in Peshawar after getting into an argument with an acquaintance. The victim, was an outspoken critic of discrimination against transgenders. The situation got worse when she did not receive treatment on time due to confusion of doctors on whether to admit her in a male ward or in a females’.
Alisha, the victim, was an outspoken critic of discrimination against transgenders. She, herself had applied for government jobs a couple of times but got nothing more than their ridicule. This left her with no option but to dance for a living.
And even if the government has done “enough”, are we as a part of this society ready to accept them as one of us?
The article covered events where the friends of the victim were offered to dance at a party while they were there to support their brutally injured friend. Under such scenario, can we imagine a world where transgenders are viewed working in public places as normally as anyone else? They are still looked upon as sex objects. How does stating them as a third gender make any difference in that case?
They are the third gender, and not the gender in the third place!
In the support of this issue, the move by the Obama administration seems to break the ice by introducing matter of choice as a social right.
The states have asked public schools and universities to allow the transgenders to use the toilet (gents or ladies) of their choice. However, while we are still far from talking about choices, we can at least begin with respecting them in first place. Giving them special preferences in the public transports is a way to start with. Acceptance comes from equality and while we, as citizens, do not accept them as one of us, it’s a good way for the government to give them special preferences. This will not just better their chances to get education and employment, but also better the way we look upon them in the society.
What else according to you could be done to improve the status of the third gender in our society?