Here are the five things I learned while doing online activism against the passing of Transgender Bill in Rajya Sabha, which was passed anyway. Sigh!
Rajya Sabha is the House of the Seniors. It is almost like a club of the elder, respected parliamentarians held in high esteem. But you can get away with doing things there, which as students we were not allowed in school and college. Like, you can be absent without any reason. During the voting on the Bill, almost half the members were absent.
No compulsory attendance, how cool is that? And you don’t even have to give a fake medical certificate. Wow! Besides, you can chit chat, shout, sleep and even crack jokes on others. I wish our schools were like this!
While religious people have a lot of explicit homophobia and which was evident during the fight against Section 377, there is almost no religious opposition to the transgender community or them getting surgically changed into another sex. In fact, in many religions, especially Hinduism, they are even considered to be divine and bestowed with the power of blessing.
And in the entire patriarchal setup, people want that divinity to be kept intact and want to do charity for the transgender community. Well, divine folks are above all these worldly matters.
What is logical may not be always acceptable. I mean take this example, someone rapes a woman; the punishment is 10 years to life imprisonment. Someone who engages in forced anal sex or bestiality, the punishment is 10 years to life imprisonment. Someone sexually abuses a child, the penalty is 10 years to death. And now listen to this, someone abuses a transgender person, the penalty is just 6 months to 2 years.
Yes, unbelievable but true that the penalty for sexually abusing a transgender person is lesser than that for abusing an animal.
That people are afraid to speak against the establishment. A lot of LGBTQ activists, especially those who have established some big-shot NGOs have been silent on the entire episode of the Trans Bill because they are hardcore BJP supporters. Their love for Modi-Shah is so profound that they cannot utter anything.
This time, the opposition to the Bill was mostly led by those whom the government called “urban Naxals.” Before the Lok Sabha elections I had written this piece on why the transgender community and its allies should not vote for BJP. The arguments presented therein stand even more validated now that the bill has been passed without an amendment.
The topic of transgender persons is a sexy topic for films. A transgender actor can instantly add a comic element to any scene. Akshay Kumar will be playing one soon. It can make your TV series very exotic, doesn’t matter if you get a cis-woman to play a trans-woman; remember Kukoo from Sacred Games?
It can make your PhD thesis stand out and earn you laurels. But when it comes to supporting trans rights, that is not what mainstream media is interested in. We have seen more coverage from media on the secret life of Rahul Gandhi and the wardrobe of Modi, than on the Trans Bill.
Wondering what is the fuss about? Just search for #StopTransBill2019 and a host of resources will pop up. Read. Watch. And understand what we have done as a nation.