Bye-Bye Binary

“Clad not exactly as a boy but, rather confusingly, as the boy I would have been, had I been more of a girl”
― Sarah WatersTipping the Velvet

November is the month of transgender awareness and education and well as celebrating the gender identity it is different from the assigned sex, this is independent of sexual orientation.

Many experience gender dysphoria some seek therapy.  Some go through life hiding behind what is socially accepted. A current trend in Hindi movies is to have an exaggerated transgender.

Being a transgender is not funny,  and parents sorry to disappoint you, when your kids turn out bi- or transgender or even gay, it is not about you… if you happen to reject them or cleanse them with holy water it is not going to change them all that will happen is you will lose them.

Being a transgender could be either psychological or physical and the journey to self acceptance and acceptance in the society is usually quite traumatic. The individual gets quite discriminated on some simple examples

  • In the work place they are given lesser opportunities even if they did find opportunities they are accepted into the fold of the community. The last census in the united states revealed that 14% of the transgender are unemployed as compared to the 7% of the general population.
  • Since people are hesitant to rent out apartments to transgender or even sell it to them the reason cited is that the marketability of the rest of the apartments goes down majority of the transgender are homeless or live in make shift shelters.
  • Health insurance is unavailable to the transgender as the health insurance works on binary sexual scenario.
  • A cultural bias that being transgender is a psychological disorder or behavioural issue, that they are liars and frauds had lead to the individuals being socially ostracized.
  • Of routine dehumanization occurs through transgender related jokes.

The most dehumanizing of it all is the use of gender binary spaces like the toilets, and other public utility spaces. The transgender finally out of sheer self preservation either step out the community and relocate to exclusive or secluded communities or they then tend “pass” into the nearest gender in the gender-binary system.

The societies general reaction to transgender is that they are upsetting, because  they are perceived as choosing to inhabit a third space instead of “picking a side”, to some they are upsetting because they do not hide their birth histories, to others they are upsetting when to refuse to undergo a gender defining surgery or therapy. The label attached is the they are simply not trying hard enough to overcome their particular deficiency and become part of the mainstream… that is a particular gender though why they should is beyond me.

I just realized that we make assumptions everyday about other people’s genders without ever seeing their birth certificates, their chromosomes, their genitals, their reproductive systems, their childhood socialization or their legal sex. There is really no such a thing as real gender… gender is as we experience ourselves and the gender we perceive other to be.

Here is the link to a group that is working at giving the transgender their dignity. http://www.oasisinternational.in/

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