LGBTQA+ kyu? Time to Accept ‘them’ as Humans
A talk was delivered by Trinetra Gummaraju, a transwoman (read – woman) and a student at Kasturba Medical College, Manipal on the controversial ‘Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) bill, 2016’ at Interact building on Tuesday, April 17. The talk was followed by a discussion on the problems faced by LGBTQA+ community.
The Transgender Persons bill explains trans people as ‘neither completely male or female’ or ‘both male and female’ that tries to fit everything and everyone in the two binaries, male and female. Trinetra began the talk mentioning about an e-mail, sent to her by the hostel authorities, that, despite having her gender as ‘female’ on her official documents, turned down her request of allocating her a ladies hostel. During her address, she shared her experiences proving how the transgender community was being ignored by the law.
The talk also featured a short film made by Trinetra, titled ‘The Girl in the Boy’s Hostel’, which captured her struggle in a boy’s hostel.
Covering the often ignored and misunderstood topics like Gender identity and Gender expression, Trinetra ensured that everything was laid out in an orderly fashion for the audience to take in, register and understand thoroughly.
Trinetra also talked about the Hijra community and the hierarchy established in their system, and how the transgender persons bill is uprooting them from their homes. “If the law will arrest these gurus (heads of their groups), and the family will not accept these Hijras as their kids, where will they go?” she questions while trying to make audience realise how the problem has reached the point where survival is at stake for everyone in this community.
“I still remember, I woke up feeling like a criminal” said Trinetra, talking about the 2014 Supreme Court judgement that re-implemented section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, the Unnatural offences.
Vinayak Jain, one of the attendees who has also delivered a TEDx talk and happens to be Trinetra’s friend, said “Constant efforts over four years have been integral in changing the way people look at Trinetra. Now when they see her, they see a person who is highly talented in arts as well as Academics and this has helped in a complete perception shift.”
Another aspect highlighted by Trinetra was, the lack of awareness even in the elite and educated class. She was concerned about how even medical students are not taught to be sensitive and considerate towards the LGBTQA+ community. There are Medical text books that openly state that women who engage in lesbianism also commit homicide, murders, robbery, and similar activities, she pointed out.
The talk also emphasised on the need for society to understand that there is no ‘choice’, no ‘options’, and no ‘confusions’. “It is who the person is, and maybe it is time we stopped referring the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transsexuals, Asexuals, Queers as “them” or “these people” and accept them, just, as people. Is it too much to ask?”, she asked.
Featured Image Courtesy: Harleen Kaur
Edited by: Mehul Malpani