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5 Things You Must Understand About Trans People Because That’s The Least You Can Do

More from Bonita Rajpurohit

Being transgender is not a choice, choosing to hurt someone is.” These words rang true for me as soon as I saw them on a poster about the things trans people are put through all across the world.

A 2016 study found that 40% of trans people attempt suicide. Various other studies also reveal the numerous difficulties for trans people to confront in their daily life – such as bullying, and being harassed in public. As a transgender woman, I too have been through a lot of trauma and attempted self injuries several times. As with so many trans people, it takes time and support and courage to get ahead with their life. Trans people in India have to fight so many battles just to prove their existence, and it’s time we recognised the five biggest issues that need resolving.

1. Gender Identity Dysphoria

Gender Identity Dysphoria means not identifying with the body/gender you’re born with and it is indeed a major issue for trans people. It includes the unsatisfactory feelings with your own body. In this state trans people don’t feel comfortable with their life, nothing feels right and usually suffer through trauma, depression, and suicidal thoughts.

Even though we are led to believe this, biological anatomy cannot define gender identity. It can be hard for cisgender folk to grasp this concept because according to their own experiences, they believe that the reason behind one’s gender identity is the biological sex. They belong to a particular gender according to how their body is distinguished – as ‘male’ or ‘female’. But in reality it’s much more complicated than that. Gender is how you identify yourself. And while cisgender people might take it for granted, trans people understands the concept of gender in a more nuanced way. Whether they transition or not, they can never escape the fact that they’re transgender, which can be intensely agonising.

2. Transphobia

Transphobia is a term for the abhorrent feeling towards trans people. Some people use everything from religion to political ideology to culture as a weapon to satisfy their aggression for something that doesn’t fit into their narrow-minded understanding of gender. They’re people who are incapable of accepting a trans person’s embodiment of femininity or masculinity.

And this has a death toll. The Trans Murder Monitor reports on killings of trans and gender diverse people between 2008 and 2015: “1,573 killings in 23 countries in Central and South America, which account for 78% of the globally reported murders; 179 killings in 16 Asian countries; 137 killings in North America; 112 killings in 16 European countries; 10 killings have been reported in 4 African countries; and 5 killings in 4 countries in Oceania.”

Research by the William’s Institute demonstrates other forms of transphobia reported by trans individuals. This includes rejection by family and friends (57%), discrimination at school or work (50-59%), victimization, being refused healthcare (60%), or facing violence at the hands of law enforcement (60-70%). The study also showed how transphobia also contributed to homelessness (69%). And all of this led to the prevalence of suicide attempts, such as those who experienced the following:

3. The Law Of Attraction

In our daily life, we’re shown that mostly everyone fantasises about someone as their lover: straight women are attracted to men, lesbian women are attracted to women, straight men are attracted to women, and gay men are attracted to men. Then who falls for trans people?

There’s not much choice left for trans people, unless the other person is pansexual (attraction to people regardless of their gender), transamorous (attraction particularly to transgender people), or ‘a chaser’ (desiring trans bodies as a fetish). And no one can blame anyone for this, because it’s what it is.

Take the example of a pre-op trans person who is in a gay relationship. They might come to the conclusion that they want to break up because their partner objects to their transitioning. After all, you can’t have a ‘gay relationship’ and live with your identity at the same time because in a same-sex relationship, you’re expected to play the role of same gender that you fall for.

Even if trans people jump through all the medical hoops, and are able to afford all the cosmetic surgeries, the Sex Reassignment Surgery, would it really have a positive impact on their chances of finding a partner? They can never deny their trans identity, which turns most people off in the first place.

Frankly there’s considered to be a huge difference between a cis and a trans person. In our society, cis people have privileges even in love and companionship.

4. Transitioning

Transitioning is the medical process of changing one’s physical appearance to correspond with one’s gender identity and expression. It’s not necessary that every trans person goes under the knife. Many gradually learn to accept their physical state, and start loving themselves. But for most trans folks it is the biggest dream – the only ray of hope which encourages them to be alive.

The process of transitioning includes psychiatric consultant, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), laser hair removal, facial feminization, breast augmentation or reduction, and sex reassignment operation. As with most major surgeries, there are risks. Hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain, loss of bone density, fatigue, risk of diabetes, anemia and memory loss are the common side effects of hormones replacement therapy.

Another concern is the pace. Taking hormones is a slow process. Trans people may become impatient and overdose to see the consequences sooner than later. This can cause blockages in the heart, and in some cases can lead to death.

For trans people with very limited resources, it’s extremely difficult to gain access to hormones, to pass all the medical steps, buy all the cosmetics, and new clothes, when they have to worry about fulfilling their most basic needs, like food, shelter, and safety.

5. The Washroom

In general the authorities of public facilities require people to use washrooms that is compatible with the gender on their birth certificate, not the gender which they identify as. For trans people, this is a huge obstacle. Sometimes, they take action. For example, Gavin Grimm, a transgender boy from Virginia, filed a lawsuit against his school district for not being able to use the restroom that corresponds with the gender he identifies with.

Otherwise trans women are made to use the gents’ restroom, and trans men the ladies’ restroom. On the whole, this leads to an uncomfortable situation for both trans and cis people.

People who support this system say that trans people make public facilities (like washrooms) unsafe for cis folks. But actually, it’s trans people who face the viciousness, because there are a lot of cases where trans people were orally, physically and sexually harmed by cisgender people while there have been no case of a transgender person assaulting a cis person.

We all are human and all of us have our own problems, but we should try not to be the reason for some other person’s problem. We live in this world together and we need to expand the truth of others and share love in order to make this world a better place for every individual.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ishita Singh

    The 3rd gender is a subject on which ignorance too often abounds. I really appreciate your stand for spreading knowledge that one must know about the trans community.

    1. Ishita Singh

      I really appreciate your stand on spreading knowledge that one must know about the trans community. *

    2. Shraeyansh Rajpurohit

      Thanks Ishita❤️
      It is indeed fundamental.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

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MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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