TODAY -

The Third Gender Does Not Deserve A Third Grade Treatment

Shobha Shukla *

 Nupee Manbee  | Male to Female Transgender Community in Manipur Society
Nupee Manbee | Male to Female Transgender Community in Manipur Society :: Pix - TSE



Raveena Bariha, the fire brand graduate tribal hijra activist from Chhattisgarh (a relatively backward state of India) is lovingly called the chhota bomb and chhota rocket. At the recently concluded National Hijra Habba Consultation and Cultural Event, which was organized by Pehch‚n project, in association with India HIV/AIDS Alliance in Delhi, her diminutive frame dressed in a cotton salwar kurta without any jewellery stood apart from the other ornately dressed participants of her community. Raveena spoke to CNS about the hopes and aspirations, the trials and tribulations of the transgender and hijra/kinnar community.

This is what she had to say:

'As I am a kinnar, I have personally faced the problems affecting them. I have suffered a lot of taunts, jeers, disrespect, and discrimination even as a student and completed my graduation in very difficult circumstances. I know that the people of my community have a lot of ability to do well in life. What they really need is an enabling environment and some encouragement. It is for this reason that I started working full time for the broader good of my community in 2008, after resigning from a government teaching job. It was a hard decision as I was earning Rs 9000 per month. I then worked for some time as assistant editor for a Hindi press Hari bhoomi, and then with the National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) for targeted interventions in men who have sex with men (MSM) and hijra community. Then I formed my organization 'Chhattisgarh Mitwa Sankalp Samiti'.

Today 2000 hijra members are registered under it. Chhattisgarh is a relatively new state of India and the government is very proactive. We had recently given an application to the Chief Minister for formation of Welfare Board for Transgenders and the administration has already worked out the Board's structure. I think that Chhattisgarh will be the second state after Tamilnadu, where such a board will become functional within the next few months. So it has been a fast process as compared to other states. We are collectively working on other issues too- like education, tree plantation, Anna Hazare's anticorruption movement - just to help make the kinnars stay in the mainstream of society.

The main problem is the stigma and rejection the transgenders/hijras face in society. As soon as people come to know about their status the process of discrimination begins. This partly stems from ignorance of the people who only know about the male and female sex and are not even aware of the existence of a third sex. I am sure that if people are more informed about gender then 80% of the discrimination will vanish. So it would be helpful if information about the third sex is made part of the educational syllabus so that students are sensitized about this issue. We also need more legal awareness and sensitivity in law enforcers.

Also the community members should not fight amongst themselves but work together for their own betterment and rise above petty matters of colour, caste, creed, dress, etc. We have to remain united to get our rights. Our traditional behavior which makes us conspicuous and stand out in a crowd, stems from the natural human tendency to identify ones gender and sexuality through different means ' dress, manner of talking, gesturing etc. Perhaps the gesture of clapping and dressing gaudily started to fulfill this urge.

The community will have to move out of its traditional stereotype image and change its behavioral pattern to join the mainstream of society, so that others do not feel uncomfortable in their presence. It is the duty of the community leaders to mould existing perceptions and bring about positive changes in the existing traditions of the community which are detrimental to their growth. This is not just a social issue but a psychological issue as well. In our society mental hardships and problems still take a back bench and are not addressed properly. If we can address the problem of discrimination then all other problems will be taken care of.

I think that the enormous potential of the young transgender (TG) and Hijra is going untapped and unutilized owing to the high degree of multi-level stigma and discrimination against the community which is rampant in society. This is one of the reasons for the anger and frustration brewing within the young generation of the community who hardly have any other option than begging, singing badhais, and indulging in sex work. So it is very important to keep them in a healthy and positive atmosphere. I belong to an adivasi community where even the bride is forced by her own parents to drink liquor. But when I lived in a hostel all these conditioned attitudes vanished.

Recently UNDP had conducted a month long leadership development program and within that period there was an unbelievable change in behavior patterns. If 30 days mentoring can do such wonders one can imagine the positive results we can achieve if we can have just one hostel for the young hijras where they can live and study for 3, 4 years. So my request is that the government should build hostels for young TGs and hijras as has been done for the tribal youth in every block of Chhattisgarh.

This will not only give them educational opportunities but also have a profound effect on their social development. Presently the hijras have to live a life of shame and indignity as there is too much negativity in society. I know of a medical student who left his studies in between as he just could not bear the insults, taunts and jeers he had to face daily in the hostel where they had nicknamed him 'chhakka mama'.

Another 15 year old was raped 4 times but the family did not report the matter to police for fear of spoiling their so called reputation in society. Still another was forcibly married by his family which resulted in divorce within two months. There are innumerable such cases.

One can imagine the mental state of a person who has to face so many indignities in life from such a young age. It kills all the sensitivity of the person and hardens his attitude. So proper counseling at every stage is a must. As soon as this gender is discovered in a child, parents should become more caring and protective; schools should have trained personnel to counsel such children; there should be hostels for them where they can live and breathe freely.

Discrimination can end by doing two things ' they should be kept in a healthy atmosphere and secondly create awareness in society that there is also a third gender who have their own specific problems and their own life. It is criminal and cruel to try to make a boy or a girl out of them. Jawaharlal Nehru had once lamented that why is it treated to be a crime to be born a hijra. The community leaders will have to see that their ego does not come in the way of community empowerment.'


* Shobha Shukla - CNS is a frequent contributor to e-pao.net
The author is the Managing Editor of Citizen News Service (CNS). She is a J2J Fellow of National Press Foundation (NPF) USA. She has worked earlier with State Planning Institute, UP and taught physics at India's prestigious Loreto Convent. She also authored a book on childhood TB (2012), co-authored a book (translated in three languages) "Voices from the field on childhood pneumonia" and a report on Hepatitis C and HIV treatment access issues in 2011. Email: shobha(at)citizen-news(dot)org, website: http://www.citizen-news.org
This article was posted on June 05, 2012 .



* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Lamklai Kummoi Maring Fest #2: Gallery
  • National School Games- Fencing: Gallery
  • We want the ring...
  • The Queen's Heart :: Poem
  • Education of heart: Heart of Education
  • Mao - The Revolutionary
  • Discussion on India-Vietnam Relation
  • Sangai of the Sangai festival
  • Jarnail in his element
  • Tough road awaits Sarita in World Boxing
  • ACAUT says NNPGs unable to rein..
  • State has no say in ILP - Conrad
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #2 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #2 : Gallery
  • Rajkumar Jhaljit : Sahityaratna 2017
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #2
  • Ningol Chakouba :: Poem
  • World Diabetes Day 2018
  • Bartending as a career option
  • The unintended windfall
  • Issues before the Parliamentary polls
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #3: Gallery
  • Rock Show at X-Jam 2018 : Gallery
  • Bloody Phanek wins at Signs Festival
  • Gender Equality & Development :: Book
  • I am friend of India for life- Japanese PM
  • 2019 Commonwealth Scholarship in UK
  • 55th Nagas' Meet at New Delhi
  • Black money and the dream-merchants
  • What steps to address traffic chaos ?
  • Govt extends ban on seven Meitei groups
  • It won't be easy for Mary Kom - Nieva
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Mysore #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Dubai #1 : Gallery
  • Cry of a Dying River - 54 :: Poem
  • Religious education- Part of our life
  • Free Heart Camp at Kakching Bazar
  • Jobs at Gyan Jyoti Foundation
  • Nothing seems change; everything remains
  • Predatory instinct of man: Targeting 'Manipur'
  • Lihaaz- Classical Music at IIT Guwahati
  • Mera Wayungba #1 : Gallery
  • L Modhuchandra : Young Scientist Award
  • Chavang Kut celebrated in Delhi
  • Temple runs for a pilgrim's journey
  • First day of All India Young Writers' Festival
  • Ningol Chakkouba in era of materials
  • Constitutional breakdown in governance
  • Attacked on Environment Defenders
  • Kut festival @ Chandel : Gallery
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #2 : Gallery
  • Karen people's pursuit for survival..
  • Glamorous Maniac & their new single
  • City bus for high end of society- Why not?
  • Youth Leadership Camp at Yairipok
  • Course in Political Science at NEHU
  • Of Indian Constitution
  • Ningol Chakouba @ MBC #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakouba Nga Mela #1 : Gallery
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #2 : Gallery
  • Gaudiya Vaishnavism in Meitei Nation #1
  • Old Man in the Winter :: Poem
  • Drawing inspiration from Dave Mustaine
  • Condemns attack on Agnes Kharshiing
  • NEUFC Fan Park celebrates
  • Achievement lists of PDA is 'Boring'
  • MPP : Down but not out
  • Ningol - mapam lamdam : Gallery
  • Kwatha Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Ningol Chakkouba: Biggest fest of Manipuri
  • Mizoram Under the British Rule :: Book
  • Dr. Udit Raj: a Crusader
  • Undisclosed #MeToo campaign in Manipur?
  • Drought :: Poem
  • When Money matters, sincerity is out..
  • Detaining two more at Jiribam
  • Ningol Chakkouba : Flash Presentation
  • Ningol Chakkouba Shopping #1: Gallery
  • Chingjaroi, Atengba, Ahongbi :: eMing
  • The Killing Fields 2013-18 : News Timeline
  • Those Sparks and Sounds
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #2
  • Understanding RSS :: Book Review
  • Cry of a Dying River - 53 :: Poem
  • A take on Freedom of Media
  • Pay of private school teachers
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #2: Gallery
  • Art Festival @ Imphal : Gallery
  • 26 month left to meet AIDS 90-90-90 target
  • Tengnoumanbi- Essential food item ..
  • Dr Abdul Kalam vision of transforming India
  • A Wintry Landscape :: Poem
  • 'Say no to Lead Paints'
  • Completing bigger task
  • Biomedical wastes: Health, ecology at stake
  • NIA files chargesheet against 5 NSCN (K)
  • Ningol Chakouba @ Kolkata : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #3: Gallery
  • Irony of idea of communal harmony
  • Blood Donation at RGU, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Career opportunities in Ecology #2
  • Down the Country Road :: Poem
  • Change of season: Prepare for winter
  • Govt forgotten promises to improve traffic
  • ATC demand: Setback to pluralistic Manipur
  • Mega Marathon Manipur #1 : Gallery
  • Descent & inheritance among Zeliangrong
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #3
  • Seminar : Reforming Teaching-Learning
  • Attitude :: Poem
  • Tourism: A key sector in the world
  • NH7 Weekender Meghalaya : Day 2 Report
  • Early solution in Manipur difficult : Army
  • Fabrics of Bangladeshi Manipuri: Download
  • NH7 Weekender @Meghalaya #1 : Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang: Suicide prevention
  • Where have all the flowers gone? Khurkhul
  • Engaging Failed State :: Book Review
  • eNorth East Award 2018
  • Song of a Tree :: Poem
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 Kicks Off
  • Unsolved case of Pravish Chanam
  • Imphal Jamboree : Gallery
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Manipur from Independence to Merger #1
  • A beacon of hope
  • Mishing tribe of Assam
  • Ransomware that made the world cry
  • State Level Painting Competition
  • A suggestion for a strong democracy
  • Issues before Parliamentary polls
  • Kut Festival @ Kangpokpi : Gallery
  • HIV : Gap between research & impact
  • My Tryst With Manipur : A Memoir :: Review
  • Cultural heritage (Kut fete)
  • Bleeding inside Brain treated at SKY
  • Indo-Myanmar Regional Border Meet
  • In Her Arms Of Death :: Poem
  • Pravish Chanam : No Action by CBI
  • Assam Don Bosco : University of the Year
  • NH7 Weekender 2018 in Meghalaya
  • Media that criticize are not your enemy, CM
  • MU limping back to normalcy
  • Mera Kongchat Mass Rally #1: Gallery
  • Happy Kut Wishes :: Flash Presentation
  • November Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Weavers training for Mamit , Mizoram
  • Diwali Lagao : Mapugidi Munda
  • Career opportunities in Ecology
  • Jobs at Trueblue, Taxi Service, Imphal
  • CM should not let this opportunity out..
  • Where will Oct 31, 2018 stand ?
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #2: Gallery
  • Kut Festival :: Series of Articles
  • Comedian Huirem Manglem passed away
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #2
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Overview of Buddha's teachings on Karmma
  • Technological Globalisation and Manipur
  • Initiate disciplinary action against Police
  • 13th Indo-Myanmar Border Committee Meet
  • .....but traffic is still in mess
  • Obstinately silly or immense clout
  • 'Ethnic Conflicts in Manipur: Issues'
  • Mapithel Dam Irrigation Canals #2
  • Kangla is like Ayodhya for Meiteis..Sacred
  • Health Care & Status in North East :: Book
  • Speaker List: Imphal Jamboree- Youth Fest
  • Roars of #MeToo to douse the flame of lust
  • A Welcome Change :: Poem
  • Liangmai community performed at NE fest
  • Immature press statement from NDPP: NPF
  • Our expectation from the government
  • October 31 : Rally and bandh
  • Chalwa Village in Kangpokpi #3 : Gallery
  • NEROCA Vs East Bengal : Gallery
  • Lullaby by This Chord :: Critical Analysis
  • Imphal Jamboree - Youth festival
  • Getting ready for Act East Policy
  • Hey! You're a role model :: Poem
  • Training on Cultivation of Mushroom
  • Yitachu is propagating misguiding facts
  • Naga Talk: Wary yet committed & hopeful
  • Fashion Show: Lamklai Kummoi: Gallery
  • Pukning Pothasang : Bereavement
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-2
  • RIST Talk -37 : The Physics of Lunar Dust
  • Cry of a Dying River #51 :: Poem
  • WhatsApp cheating : Unexplained loss
  • Cat :: Poem
  • TSA cautions EMRS School
  • Non-issue turns issue
  • Cong gunning for Governor
  • Mera Houchongba @Konung #1: Gallery
  • Sanjenbam Bhanumati Devi : Kavyabhusan
  • Church and climate change
  • Environmental human rights: Its evolution
  • Developing a database on bio-resource #2
  • Incomplete Love :: Poem
  • Beauty benefits of potato
  • The toddler calls
  • UNC : Acceptable to the Zeliangrongs?
  • Trekking to Dzukou Valley #2: Gallery
  • Constituent Assembly Of India & NEFA #1
  • Can we end tobacco pandemic ?
  • Experiencing Senapati town
  • City Bazaar :: Poem
  • Eepan Thaba #1: Gallery
  • Mapithel Dam Irrigation Canals #1
  • Chumthang Crafts at European Congress
  • A Road Trip to Myanmar #3
  • Narmada Sougaijam - Natl Konkan Award
  • Bor khoiramba @Hiyangthang #2 : Gallery
  • Mera Houchongba : Unity - hill & valley
  • Khong: significance in Zeliangrong culture-1
  • Manipuri Calendar for 2018 : Download
  • Lamyanba Irabot- Floral Tribute #2: Gallery
  • Mera Chaorel Houba #2 : Gallery
  • Anglo-Kuki War 1917-19 : Gallery
  • Pari Imom (Film Scenes) #1 :: eRang
  • Death Anniv - Bhagyachandra #3 : Gallery
  • Jarnail Singh @ MU : Gallery
  • Heikru Hidongba #3 : Gallery
  • AMAND Pune: Cultural evening : Gallery
  • Sizo Festival @Saikot : Gallery
  • Tarpon Sonba : Gallery
  • mtM :: Seireng
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #4: Gallery
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Manglandasu Nang - OST :: e-pao Radio
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS