Mainstreaming of transgender in the society

Maimom Ranjit (Inao) Singh *

Trans-Gender (Nupi Manbi) Community of Manipur at work in Imphal :: March 10 2013
Trans-Gender (Nupi Manbi) Community of Manipur at work in Imphal in March 2013 :: Pix - Deepak Oinam

Transgender persons are members of their family, their families were part of that locality, state, country and global indeed. No doubt, transgenders had been part and parcel of the society. But, most people ranging from layman to educationist often confuse about transgender. They assume the term transgender to refer to Hijra (female's cross dressers and recognized by their specific cultural cult) and male to female cross dresser people only.

In reality, it has a broad spectrum of phenomenon. Persons who born biologically man or woman but identified as female or male because of their deeply rooted felt sense of being, behaviors, way of acting, speaking, trait, erotic, thought, desires also will call transgender. In short, it may define as; person whose gender identity is opposite of their birth sex, a person who does not identified with their birth assigned gender and also may refer transgender people are individuals whose appearance, personal characteristic, behavior differ from stereotype gender norms about how men and women are "supposed" to be.

Importantly it depends on person's self identification whether he/ she is transgender regardless their outside appearance like long hairs, putting makeup and clothing. Here, picking up for male to female transgender (Nupee Manbi Nupa). More or less everyone has seen "Nupee Manbi" (Homo-a loose and derogatory term use in Manipur) and it is not an exaggeration that they had been existing in our society ever since human being is settled in different lifestyles with native terminology according to the place where they belong to.

Anthropologists and prominent historians would know the fact about their existence ever since. Not surprisingly, in the mythological and ancient culture books hereinafter Mahabarata, Japanee's Samurai culture, Chinese Tradition, Harapa and Mohanjadora, there could see the lives of them. Our histories are also replete with evidence. Mughal paintings and poetry are also explicitly homoerotic. There were abundance of temples like Kornak, khajaraho, and many others carvings and iconography that shows inclination of the said community.

Even in Manipur during the kingdom of Maharajas, there were evidence of Nupee Manbi dwelling termed as "Paita/Pheida"(Vaid). Before British colonial and imperialism as far as the books and historical evidences there was existed of them and who were honored and successful members of the society.

Unfortunately all modern ills on colonialism, the evidence available to the said community forces personally to conclude that homophobia of virulent proportions came into being in India in the late eighteen and early twentieth century and continues to flourish today. And after the introduction of Indian Penal Code (IPC) Section 377 of 1860 in India by Lord Macuolay as an alien legacy during British Raj, this group of people has facing lot of violence and trauma.

In parallel, stigma and discrimination from the society also falling toward them as a result since South Asian countries and our beloved country India also a male dominant and patriarchal society. In such a society there are roles and responsibility that bounded a man has supposed to do. It results distract and often impede their mind and even render to socially ostracize.

Thus self stigma comes and can't step up for further work that would lead to develop and economic foundation for themselves. Thank God….!!! As things changing globally, the above quoted inappreciative chronic attitude that adversely affected to the said marginalised people has also been changing gradually.

And it is much talk about and agreed that science is advancing and everything is proved by science. Now, it is shown such group of human phenomenon is because of genetic factor, inborn quality and not by chose. It is not an alien acquired. This notion and conscience is prevailing in our society. As a glaring example most of them coming out and started working in their suitable trades for their welfare and economic stability.

Few of them are rushing in politics, law enforcement, medical, lawyer, education, social activist, artist, fashion designing, beauty industry so on and so forth. Nevertheless, stigma and discrimination associated with them caused by social prejudice still in place, few had succeeded and could stand firmly in the society. Beside this, many of them are now readied to appear in Indian Civil Service (IAS) in their assigned category.

In the line of acceptability and recognition of transgender, Indian govt. and Supreme Court have outbreak unprecedented landmarks. As for instance, Supreme Court's verdict of NALSA-Judgment vs union of India- 14th April, 2014, Transgender's Protection Bill of 24th April, 2014 passed by Raja Sabha, Supreme Court's delivering to granting OBC status for transgender of 17th March 2015, Reserve Bank of India (RBI)'s direction to include 'Third gender' in all forms and applications issue and designed by bank itself, Election Commission of India's direction to enroll third gender in electoral role, importantly, Hon'le Prime Minister- Shree Narendra Modi's signal for support for transgender etc.

And some encourageous steps also lining up down the line i.e, Assam Jorhat College called for transgender admission, Tamil Nadu Govt. has launched transgender's pension scheme, Kerela Govt. unveils long awaited transgender policy and Sashi Panja Ministry of Social Welfare and Child Development took the charge of chairperson of Transgender Development Board-West Bengal and, Kolkata govt. set up special ward for transgender at R.G Medical College and Hospital.

These historic moments really helped to bring transgender people in the mainstream of the society regardless their caste, creed and religions. And also this will be pertinent to be noted that a study done in 2011, it has shown there are around 4.9 lakhs transgender estimated population in India and many Community Base Organization (CBO) and networks formed and own by themselves are established. At this juncture, it would be wrong to skip Manipur's scenario.

In Manipur too transgender's admission at educational institution began at their category, Social Welfare Department is also planning to form Transgender Welfare Board, Eelection Commission Manipur readied to start third gender enroll in the electoral role and few transgenders –Nupee Manbi also successfully working and idolized as role model in the field of fashion designing, film makeup, beauty industry, Sumang Lila, community activists and many are also emerging.

Popularity of them is known. Besides this, some Community Base Organisation (CBOs) owned by them are also working in the state with support from civil society groups and agency for their issues and involving in the social issues to some extend and thus creating an atmosphere of empowerment and upliftment. Thus are contributing something to the society and society also enjoying the contribution extending by them.

The above quoted points may be referred as social mainstreams of them as mainstreaming may define the way in which individually or socially underprivileged group of people coming out and enjoy in the social and cultural life and with the things around in the line of intolerance and acceptance by their respective society. Whilst, for a more safety and non-judgmental life of them, it is highly needed positive supports from the society by understanding the issues of transgender people.

And transgender friends too must be unified, hang together with self esteem and step forward for accessing constitutionally guaranteeing rights. Lastly, but not the least, society has to be changed the wrong conceptions put towards transgender, and transgender fellows too should think and muse what kind of attitude and traits make people's eye sick and public nuisance. It would be good to remember that "A black Sheep infects the whole flocks"

As we demand our rights, we must not skip our duty too. Only then, mainstreaming will surely come .

* Maimom Ranjit (Inao) Singh wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on Janaury 29, 2016.

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