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!
  • Origin of Khunchai (Kuki) Tribes
  • Landscape Wallpaper #1 : Download
  • Cooking as professional opportunity
  • A deep sleep :: Poem
  • Musing on ADC Election
  • Election: Prepaid or postpaid ?
  • WW II anniv: Australia, Japan to attend
  • Software Engineer @Cobigent
  • Recruitment at Tashi Interiors
  • Statue of Pukhramba Kajao:: Gallery
  • Headaches after Class XII
  • Shirui Lily blooming #1:: Gallery
  • Nengsuanmang, Tonglen: eMing
  • Bandh against Nagaland #2:: Gallery
  • Dzukou valley: The day after
  • Child protection from sexual offences
  • Unsiko AEKoI, AmuQ :: Seireng
  • Relief trip to Nepal:: Gallery
  • SUNRISE Relief Trip to Nepal
  • Admission counselling centres in NE
  • Private Higher Secondary Schools
  • Centre to create 1L jobs in NE
  • Indecency slur on minister
  • Trapped in security paradigm
  • Wanna eat beef? Go to Pakistan
  • The Killing Fields :: News Timeline
  • Makar Scenes #2 :: eRang
  • Biodiversity for sustainable development
  • Kuknalim in Nagaland; chinky in Delhi
  • The Patriot :: Poem
  • Cruelty Towards Animals #1
  • Bandh against Nagaland #1:: Gallery
  • TR's 1 year in office
  • I-League Pre-Match: Lajong vs Pune
  • Naga insurgents losing steam :Army
  • 8 rebels killed in Manipur
  • Centre clarifies on spl category status
  • Non-sensical culture of VIPsm
  • Water Route to Boroikhal #1:: Gallery
  • Understanding Turmoil
  • GKCA's festival of solo performance
  • NSCNs exchange gunfire
  • Strike in Senapati on 'encroachment'
  • DoNER Ministry's security initiative
  • BioTech Conference @MU:: Gallery
  • Laimang Phamba @Kakwa #2:: Gallery
  • 4Bs of Election Fever
  • Is It :: Poem
  • Diary from Canadian Student #1
  • Technical Jobs(185) at NIELIT
  • Internship on Web Apps @Don Bosco
  • FOSS Training @Assam Don Bosco
  • Keishal: Scenes #1 :: eRang
  • Decaying Manipur health care #5
  • Freedom of Press: From Legal Concept
  • The Headline Story : Poem
  • Tamenglong #43: Wallpaper Download
  • Fire at Noney :: Gallery
  • Memorandum submitted to Kiren Rijiju
  • Rejoinder to R.K. Rajendro
  • Medical/Dental at Annamalai
  • Ethical Fashion Event #2:: Gallery
  • Hmar Student condemns brutal killing
  • Requirements at Kangla Solutions
  • Multiple Job Openings at Mangaal
  • Job Openings at Feerol
  • AirAsia Delhi-Guwahati flight takes off
  • Don't insult us
  • New initiatives taken up by Govt
  • Lairoi @Ereima Ima #1: Gallery
  • Know Your Test- Platelet Count
  • Illegal migrants from neighbour country
  • Aimol Khullen village : Gallery
  • Church and clean election #3
  • EDU-XPO, leap towards education
  • Kanarjit : Global Youth Icon Award
  • AHRC: Police officer brutally assaulted
  • Meghalaya shows the way
  • Defining police brutality
  • Top of Mount Koubru #3 : Gallery
  • CM with Russian Delegates
  • A Wall and A War : Poem
  • Manipur: The land of bandhs
  • Story of Naga People's Struggles #2
  • A Fiasco every now & again
  • Peace Rally at Noney Bazar [14 Apr]
  • State Arts Exhibition #2 : Gallery
  • I-League: Lajong vs Sporting Club Goa
  • Motivational Emptiness
  • Aruna : Dying twice
  • Koireng's affinity with tribes
  • Shri Tomba & Kei :: Gallery
  • Dharma from Buddhism point of view
  • Mob justice, justice on communal lines
  • Pension distributed @Jiri :: Gallery
  • Lean Startup Workshop 2
  • Taxi Drivers reqd at Virgo Cabs
  • Reqts at SKY Hospital
  • Jiribam Vegetable Market :: Gallery
  • Shaping Selective Memories
  • BOSEM and COHSEM keeping time
  • Contemporary Manipuri Short Stories #4
  • Big hearts for big political concessions
  • Statement on the Pallel Firing
  • Jemadar Abdul Hafiz VC (Victoria Cross)
  • Music fest @Santhei #3: Gallery
  • Cultural Forum day:: Gallery
  • Mt Everest 2nd Anniv :: Gallery
  • KRF ki thouwong adu Govt..
  • Everyone will be taken on board: Ravi
  • AAP versus Lt Governor
  • Cauldron of communal tension
  • NH-37 Pathetic Condition :: Gallery
  • World Hypertension Day
  • ADC polls: Road to power devolution
  • Flawed system & lop-sided results
  • Communal accord: Need of the hour
  • Buying Vote is Buying People
  • Has education failed family relationships
  • Living God: Best Documentary @LA
  • Ethical Fashion Event #1:: Gallery
  • All Community Meeting @Jiri:: Gallery
  • Vacancy at YVU Financial
  • Plea to stop communalizing issues
  • Medical camp @Boroikhal :: Gallery
  • Manipur Drama Fest :: Gallery
  • 5th & 6th schedule: Analysis #5
  • Toppers - HSLC Exam :: Gallery
  • Zillai Sports meet @THAU :: Gallery
  • Shri Tomba & Kei :: Play Synopsis
  • Recruitment of Faculty at SAU
  • Cherry Blossom Festival prog launched
  • 'Jewel of Manipuri Cinema' :: Gallery
  • Nagas must win to max possible extent
  • Ravi promises comprehensive deal
  • Curbing Hostility
  • HSLC 2015 : Top 25 Rank Holders
  • HSLC : Statistics / Subject Topper
  • HSLC 2015 : Full Roll No Listing
  • Laimang Phamba @Kakwa:: Gallery
  • Takao Kawaguchi and Manipur
  • Tree plantation @Jiri :: Gallery
  • RRM Kick-off :: Gallery
  • 4th Batch- Free Photography Course
  • Graphic Designer Vacancy
  • Workshop: Takao Kawaguchi @Imphal
  • Sanjenthong still constructing: Gallery
  • Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa VC
  • Revenge #3 :: Story
  • Birchandra Football Academy : Gallery
  • Archived News Photo for year 2015
  • Goura Lila #3 : Gallery
  • Ednn Min @HSE Result : Gallery
  • HSE 2015 : Result / Pass %
  • HSE 2015 : Useful Information
  • HSE 2015 : Science Stream Result
  • HSE 2015 : Commerce Stream Result
  • HSE 2015 : Arts Stream Result
  • Manipuri Sahitya parishad: Gallery
  • Wangkhem Bidyamani : Profile :: eRang
  • Bidyamani : Singer-Photos #1 :: eRang
  • Ithai School protest : Gallery
  • Heloise Rajkumari @Italy: Gallery
  • Tensions at Pallel : Gallery
  • U suba amadi Chaoren : Funga Wari
  • Iroisemba Zoo #2 :: 360 Panorama
  • MRVT&MW Bill- Contents : Gallery
  • Phone Directory :: Govt Officials
  • Laihui presents Hada Shamaton :: Ooba
  • SPONSORED ADS