Call to action on the Transgender Day of Visibility

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On 17/2/2017, I felt severe pain in my shoulder and decided to visit a hospital. On reaching there, I proceeded to the OPD (Out Patient Department) registration desk. The female staff member, present on the desk, asked me for my name and age for registration. She filled in the details and handed me the registration paper. I was then asked to proceed to one of the rooms for check-up. As I started walking towards the concerned doctor’s room, I checked the OPD registration paper, and was stunned to see that I had been listed there as male.

You might wonder why that was such an issue; now I ask you to imagine yourself being listed in a different sex category than the one you identify as, and you will get my point! I am not a male, I do not identify myself as male, so why am I being listed as such in the OPD form?!

I am a proud woman… A woman who loves all aspects of being a woman, including though not limited to wearing those clothes, like the saree, which are mostly attributed to the female gender. When people compliment my womanhood, I take pleasure in that. I finally feel the way I am supposed to, a way you feel when you are in sync with your sexual identity, and I refuse to let anyone take that away for me.

So, seeing the ‘M’ in the space allocated for sex disheartened and pained me truly. Now I felt uncomfortable just being there. Getting treated no longer seemed important, so dejected I left the hospital premises and did not end up getting my treatment.

This anecdote is unfortunately what we have to face in our day to day lives. It is not an exception, but has become a daily ordeal for all transgenders. We had hoped that post the NALSA judgement people and institutions would become more empathetic towards our issues, but I was wrong. The stigma and discrimination faced by transgenders has not abated in the least, and with that barriers towards accessing necessary services keeps increasing.

This Trangender Day of Visibility, let us take a call to action. Let’s pledge to build a diverse society, wherein transgender rights are respected and their lives are celebrated.

The author of this blog, Satyashri Sharmila is a 35 year old trans-woman, belonging to the Hijra community. She has been working on Transgender/Hijra issues for the last eleven years, and is currently the program assistant for the Wajood programme of India HIV/AIDS Alliance.

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