Understanding the lives of trans community: Why prejudices and discrimination against transgenders?

Usham Tamphathoi Chanu
Are you curious in understanding the lives of transgenders ? Okay, So if someone ask you who are trans? What would be your answer? If you have a trans sibling, do your parents happily accept them or even made an effort to better understand them? Now remember a trans friend of yours whom you had been together somewhere, say school , colleges or workplace. Were they able to made their way to the mainstream? Were they able to live a peaceful life like that of yours? Now, a big NO is running in your head .Right? If you ask a person WHAT DO THEY UNDERSTAND BY THE TERM TRANSGENDERS? Their answer will be simple as those who are not obedient towards their parents, those who go against the expectations of the society throwing their parents and relatives to the sea of criticisms, those who are born as female or male but live the other way making their life worthless.
This is the harsh reality in the life of transgender community. More than 70% of the whole population of Manipur are often confused with what actually are transgenders going through. To clear the doubt and to reduce the evil prejudice against them , it is very important to understand what actually made them to live that way. We are born and raised in a society where we are made to believed that sex is binary and so is gender.The fact to this misconception is that , “ two sexes have never been enough to describe human variety”. Sex is thus a spectrum and not just binary.The medical literature uses the term intersex to describe those individuals who are neither male or female. After the birth of a child, the child is assigned its gender identity and gender roles he or she is expected to play on its part. Girls are expected to  dress in a more typically feminine ways, be more nurturing , and polite. She is expected to be dependent on  larger male community .On the other hand, Males are expected to be more bold, aggressive and responsible. He is expected to be the master of his family. Anyone who go against or beyond this expected set of roles is not happily accepted by the mainstream.
    We need to understand the fact that sex and gender are never related and one cannot simply assign someone’s gender from its birth. The biological sex has nothing to do with one’s gender identity.Here, most  of the people fails to realize that Gender identity is the personal true sense of one’s own gender .The false ways that our society views gender affect Transgenders disproportionately. The gender identity of  majority of people corresponds with their birth sex  and they are called “Cisgender “.The people whose gender identity does not align with birth assigned sex are the ones so called as TRANSGENDERS.
Transgenders are often diagnosed with Gender Dysphoria. According to American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual(DSM), GD is defined as “the distress a person feels due to a mismatch between their gender identity and their sex assigned at birth”. It intended to better characterize the experiences of affected children, adolescents and adults. Transgender Identity is not a mental illness that can be cured with treatment. Rather, they experience persistent and authentic disconnect between the sex assigned at birth and the internal sense of who they truly are.
Transgender community is an important part of the society. Even law cannot deny their existence. The supreme court of India has declared transgender to be the third gender affirm that the fundamental rights granted under the constitution of India gave them the right to self identification of their gender. This judgement is a major step towards gender equality in India .We live in the 21st century where human rights are assured and preserved for all human beings. Despite all constitutional guarantees, the transgenders are even denied to have their basic human rights like Right to Dignity, Personal Liberty, Education, Freedom of expression .The various freedom that the Govt. promises hardly reaches the hand of this communityThere are many cases of clinical depressions, anxiety disorders, interpersonal violence, family rejection, workplace discrimination, physical abuse, relationship issues, substance abuse and even case of suicides in the lives of transgenders. The main reasons of this dark reality is the discriminations, ostracism , verbal harassment and even physical assault towards them whichstems from the misconception, lack of understanding and prejudices against them. First we need to understand that they are not living that way in their will, it is natural for them and can’t be corrected by any means , even by medical treatment. They are born with the wrong physical body and there is always a constant war between their physical body and the true self.  They find hardships in coming out to parents, siblings, relatives, friends etc. and explaining being transgender to them. They also struggle with anxiety and depression possibly related to Dysphoria and this led to suicidal tendency. They are subjected to rape in extreme cases.
If you are a trans , understand the fact that you are responsible in bringing out the truth and clearing up the misconceptions everyone have about this community. Do not end up hiding in a corner but do come out and speak up without any fear for it will help not only you but the society. YES! ALL TRANSGENDERS  its high time for you all to get up and fight for your basic rights and try explaining your true self to others .If you are a parent or close relative or family members of a trans, you should never treat them as unworthy or as a bad omen but instead try to understand them better and help them in living a normal healthy life understanding the fact that even without any external discriminations or emotional burdens they are undergoing a great war of  disconnection between their true self and physical sex. Address them with correct pronouns for it wounds them. Understand that they are also a variety of flower in the God’s diverse garden .We are all human beings who love to live peacefully and undisturbed in this diverse world. So why prejudice, discriminations , rejections and fears for them?
The writer is from Thangmeiband Yumnam Leikai and can be reached at 9108433814