(Trans) Gender Equality – Pledge to Embrace
Nature works in a peculiar fashion sometimes. Most of us live a life with a gender identity as either a male or female both physically and psychologically. With some it is not so. While the physical nature makes them any of the two, their mental design is exactly opposite to it. Such people often have psychological difficulty in choosing the gender identity. With advancements in the medical field now it is possible to correct their gender surgically per the personal preference. This is what we term it as Gender reassessment surgery or sex realignment surgery.
The Christine Factor
Although this corrective surgery is in practice from as early as the 1930s it was not until the 1950s this became popular among the transgender community. In the early 50s an American trans woman by name Christine Jorgensen, became the first person to become well publicized personality. She, under special permission, flew to Copenhagen, Denmark and underwent a series of operations during 1951 and returned to America as trans woman.
New York Daily Times published a front page cover story on Christine which gave her an instant celebrity status. She utilized her popularity and became a spokesperson for the transgender community. She wrote and spoke lot on the transgender issues and sought public attention. One of her claim, I find, so important is this. She claimed that the common psyche always misunderstands the lexicons ‘sex’ and ‘gender’ and use them one in place of the other. She points out this as one of the most common mistakes. During 1979 she publicly rejected the use of the term ‘transexual’ instead of ‘transgender’ saying, ‘Gender doesn’t have to do with bed partners but with identity’. I think this takes us to the crux of the issue and underlines our erroneous understanding.
Living on the edge
The transgender community not only lives a marginalized life but also a miserable life without recognition. They are denied to co-exist with the society to live a decent life and never are given appropriate status in the society. It is this negligence that makes us not think about their welfare. Transgenderism is not at addressed in public while compared to feminism for instance. It is the same ignorance that stops us to think about the basic necessities such as separate rest rooms for transgender people in public places.
On Nov 2009 in USA, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force published the initial findings of its survey on ‘National Transgender Discrimination Survey’. For the benefit of the readers I give as such some of the key findings of the report. (These findings come from a total of 6,456 completed questionnaires that were included in the final data set.)
*Transgender people are unemployed at alarming rates. Overall 13% of respondents were unemployed; nearly double the national average at the time of the survey. About 26% of the people who took part in the survey have responded that they lost their jobs just because they were transgender.
*Ninety-seven percent (97%) have experienced mistreatment, harassment, or discrimination on the job including: invasion of privacy, verbal abuse, and physical or sexual assault.
*Study respondents experience poverty at a much higher rate than the general population.
*A large percentage of sample reports experience housing insecurity due to their gender identity, with almost one-fifth becoming homeless because they are transgender.
*Employment issues also impact transgender people’s access to health care. Only 40% of the sample enjoys employer-based insurance coverage, compared to 62% of the population at large.
It should be note that the date of the report conforming that we still live in the age of inequality. And remember this survey throws light only on the transgender pals in US alone and in countries like India where prejudices and preconceived notions run high the findings would definitely be not better.
California sets example
On August 12, 2013 the Governor of the State of California Jerry Brown passed an act to amend the existing section 221.5 of the Educational code, relating to pupil rights. [Assembly Bill NO: 1266] Thus California became the first in history to enact this law to protecting the transgender students. This law enables transgender pupils to make their choices regarding the usage of rest rooms meant for boys/girls. Also it prohibits the schools from denying admissions for pupils sighting gender infirmity and the pupils thus can join institutions with their self-preferred gender identities. Also they the law enables them to join in physical activities that are gender specific, as per their will. You can have a look at the bill here
I found this picture unique while I was surfing the web for collecting data for this two part article. Not just this should soon become a routine in common places. To normal people this might sound trivial. But if you’ve the ability to feel the pains of fellow human beings you would realize the intensity of this. Back in India to degrade people, predominantly men, they are called as Eunuchs, as if they are inferior to other humans. And often the transgender people are called in third person as if they are animals. Such trends prevail everywhere and me quoting India is just an example.
All we need is
To be more human
And little more humane
Transgender are also human.