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
  • Western Front Pilgrimage 2016
  • ILP: People's convention : Gallery
  • In memoriam: Ebotombi Haorokcham #1
  • The Journey of Onaatah to Manipur
  • ST Oiraknabagi....Eikhoigi Wafam #2
  • A Halo of a Dream
  • Air India is #Hiring #CabinCrew
  • Tipaimukh Dam & Indigenous Rights
  • Make helmet, seat belts compulsory
  • Loktak lake #5: Gallery
  • Thang Ta @ MCA #1 : Gallery
  • 32 K yrs of Meitei civilization is tribalism? #1
  • Asthma - can we live with it?
  • Interview skills for students - Part 1
  • Glimpses of modern day youth
  • Applications: Global Shapers: Imphal
  • Condemn abduction of woman at Bangalore
  • After Class XII what ?
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #3 : Gallery
  • Medical camp @Wanglee, Ukhrul: Gallery
  • Media Sensitization Workshop: Gallery
  • Why can't we have a referendum on ST
  • Buddhism is the by-product of dharma
  • Admission at Sikkim University
  • ST Oiraknabagi....Eikhoigi Wafam #1
  • Report : Shillong Lajong FC vs East Bengal
  • Tourist park coming up at birth place of polo
  • JNU NESF slams 'infamous dossier'
  • Army busts weapons factory in Manipur
  • Indo-Myanmar initiative to check movement
  • Lenshonnei -1975 :: eRang Classic
  • Silngamba, Eerik :: eMing
  • Border Pillar 9 @Ukhrul: Gallery
  • Evening of Dance/Music #2: Gallery
  • The 'women's question' in our times
  • Food Security Act, only for Minister
  • Vascular injury : disability in India
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) :: Timeline
  • NE most lightning-prone: Study
  • Experts for new building technology
  • Special session for MPSC-2016 exam
  • Andro Schools Girls Soccer Festival
  • Singapore FC vs United Manipur FC
  • State Arts Exhibition #1: Gallery
  • Aribam Kumar : Akademi Award 2013
  • Oil Exploration Protest: Gallery
  • World Veterinary Day 2016
  • Magical Manipur - Ima Market
  • Proposing men's commissions
  • Disturbing all round trust deficit
  • Tracing the origin of Tangkhul Nagas #1
  • Killing of Korabin- Bandh : Gallery
  • Local traditional fishing culture in Loktak
  • Can DONER and NEC go together ?
  • Message to blossom in a Buddhist way
  • Myanmar: A Political History : Book Review
  • Jobs at YVU Financial, Thoubal
  • Review : Black Panthers against Neroca
  • Anti-AFSPA cry in Lok Sabha
  • Maphou Khullen, Senapati : Gallery
  • Flower Festival @ Mao #4 : Gallery
  • Read Profile of Lhingjaneng Gangte
  • Lhingjaneng Gangte passed away
  • Eyes shining with happiness : Poem
  • Frills, thrills of district administration
  • Ethics of ethnic crisis in NE #5
  • Admission at Prism D Solutions
  • Jobs at Prism D Solutions, Imphal
  • The pre-paid power supply system
  • Star Kamei : Artist/Director : Interview
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #2 : Gallery
  • Meekap Thokpa Numit #3 : Gallery
  • niHsiHli Imana naKoIbu :: Seireng
  • Mary kindles hopes of communities
  • End malaria for good
  • Jobs at Sangai Technologies, Imphal
  • The Killing Fields 2016 :: News Timeline
  • Kanglei Movies | The Talking Stream :: Links
  • Man-made disaster and natural disaster
  • Rulers of Kangla & Ethnic Tribes #4
  • Evening of Dance/Music #1: Gallery
  • Flash Floods @Khumbong #2 : Gallery
  • Idiyasan Research in Neurobiology Journal
  • Characteristics of long term leadership
  • Effective CV writing
  • Teachers donation to CM's Relief Fund
  • Kangathei village to Rajya Sabha Mary Kom
  • Khongjom Day @Khebaching #1 : Gallery
  • Flash Floods @Khumbong #1 : Gallery
  • 1st Manipur Industrial Expo #4 : Gallery
  • Cheiraoba : Great festival of Meiteis
  • Tribute to departed souls #4: Gallery
  • Proud on the nomination of Mary Kom
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi 2015 from NE
  • Ray of hope for quake-hit Manipur village
  • Mankind's irresponsibility or nature's fury
  • Singju Fest @Lamlai #2 : Gallery
  • Khongjom War Monument : Gallery
  • Of elected men & electorate mandate
  • Why MT draws a flak in Manipur
  • Let's combat climate change
  • Seminar: 59 Years of AFSPA
  • On an autumn night :: Poem
  • On President Mukherjee visit to Khongjom
  • Villagers wary of losing land to Myanmar
  • I was caught by surprise: Mary
  • Wind-storms & hailstorms #2 : Gallery
  • Flower Festival @ Mao #3 : Gallery
  • Amom Lala : Kala Akademi Award
  • Khongjom Day : Last battle of Manipur
  • Historical wars of Manipur
  • Definition of patriotism and nationalism
  • Dont sell 'big apple' in 'banana' market
  • Politicization of welfare schemes
  • Indigenous food item @Waithou #2: Gallery
  • Battle of Khongjom on 25th April 1891
  • Sambal Wangma :: eRang Classic Photo
  • Economics for Pineapple production
  • Did Ambedkar choose logic over Buddhism?
  • A String of Pearls
  • Extortion or taxing ?
  • Ibotombi: Immortal Character -Shumang Lila
  • wakYhOI tajna :: Seireng
  • Tribute to departed souls #3: Gallery
  • Jiribam Wallpaper #7 : Download
  • Why so many earthquakes ?
  • Tale of two Fake certificates #2
  • Yaoshang Photo Galleries from 2002
  • Children at Panthou Ishai Konung, Wangkhei
  • Truth Foundation Human Rights Award
  • Wind-storms & hailstorms #1 : Gallery
  • Undeclared War & Stupid Intellectuals
  • Nepal extends solidarity against AFSPA
  • MTech- 2016 admission at NIT Manipur
  • Support for 22 May Rally by STDC
  • Tribute to Oja Sanakhya Ebotombi
  • Sanakhya Ebotombi Haorokcham: Gallery
  • Tribute to departed souls #2: Gallery
  • Flower Festival @ Mao #2 : Gallery
  • One day with Rev. (Dr.) Valson Thampu
  • Business of the men in white
  • RIST Lecture 19 @MU : Random interaction
  • Naga folk music Docu. invited at Beijing
  • B Jayentakumar Death Anniv : Gallery
  • Condemns misusing Press Identify Card
  • Let us listen to children's voice
  • Mandate of Elections 2017 in Manipur #2
  • Magical Manipur-II: Krishna, our friend
  • Wangkhem Bidyamani #2 : eRang
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • MANFETE at MU : Gallery
  • Adi Vimba : Maibi Jagoi : Gallery
  • Saluting economic guru- Dr Ambedkar
  • To Amei Grinder Muivah with love
  • Khoupum Dam : Gallery
  • Cheirao-chingkaba @Lamlai #2: Gallery
  • Jobs in Bangalore / Singapore
  • Yaoshang Day 4: Yubi Lakpi #2: : Gallery
  • Tribute to departed souls #1: Gallery
  • 10th Mega Marathon Manipur #3 : Gallery
  • My Chevening Journey in United Kingdom
  • Dr. Khelchandra: With Duke of Cambridge
  • Cheirao-chingkaba @Cheiraoching: Gallery
  • Global Shapers @Hiroshima: Gallery
  • Sangai : The dancing deer of Manipur
  • Violence protest @Delhi : Gallery
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa @Imphal : Gallery
  • Dr. Yumlembam Gopi : Akademi Award
  • Irom Sharmila before CJM, Imphal: Gallery
  • Acquiring a scholarship for US Universities
  • Day 5: Thabal competition #3: Gallery
  • Thang-Ga and Karang : Panorama 360 View
  • Indo-Naga Talks 2016 :: Timeline
  • Glimpse inside Sana Konung : Gallery
  • Rally for common future #4 : Gallery
  • Earthquake: Entire Photo Gallery from Jan 4
  • Download :: PMP Bill 2015
  • Download :: MLR&LR Bill 2015
  • Download :: MSE Bill 2015
  • SPONSORED ADS