The other day I was stuck in traffic and a ‘hijra’ walked by me. Almost instinctively my driver raised the windows. And then I realised it’s a little bit like the domino effect. The way our society perceives transgender people, and the way they react is much like a vicious circle.
I do not mean to generalise, and this doesn’t reflect my views on transgender folks. I mean it more with regard to this particular sub-community. The average, not-so-open-minded person is afraid of transgender people. They come to weddings, they arrive when a baby is born, and they must be paid. This average man thinks of them as unnatural, and since we always brush things that don’t conform to our notions under the carpet, he does just that. He gives them some money and gets them off his premises.
A ‘hijra’ gets on a train with the intention of extorting (very strong word yes, but that’s what they do) money, and does just that. She knows the effect that she can have on people, and exploits it to the fullest.
So basically, there are two sides to the coin. Society thinks transgender people are unnatural. (Some) Transgender people use this to their advantage. Lose-lose situation. No one wins. The average guy is an ignorant, presumptuous jerk. And the ‘hijra’ is only harming her own cause. And that of her community.
I think I get the reason behind the average’s guy reactions. Just like all of us, he’s scared of what he doesn’t understand. Just like some homosexuals are also homophobes. What I don’t understand is why ‘hijras’ do what they do? Why make money at the cost of degrading yourself?
So what I do is to say no. I don’t raise my window, I don’t pay, and I don’t walk away. I just say no. Because that person is no less than me. She is my equal. To give in would be to acknowledge that ‘hijras’ are inferior to me. One day I want to tell them, “You are in no way any different from me. Each of us is different, but all of us are equal. And when you do this, you make yourself a little less equal than others.”
Let’s have more schemes, more beauty pageants, make some movies to help people understand. Let’s not have this anymore though.