The Visibility of Who We Are

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We have all read that we need to treat transgenders like everyone else…but do you? Every day transgenders and hijras are heckled, cornered, disowned by their families and thrown out on the streets. The journey towards living openly and authentically is different for everyone, and given the levels of violence and discrimination that we face, revealing and expressing one’s own true gender identity is difficult and sometimes even a dangerous daily process.

Recently someone told me that there is a purpose to everything – a real, deep down purpose – and it is up to each of us to find our own. Life will never be the dream we dare to dream. It will be hard and challenging at times, confusing and ridiculous at other times, and we have to be okay with that. Those of us in the trans community must try to find a balance in the difficulties we face and try to understand what we may never understand.

We may never understand some of the things that come our way. Others may act in ways that hurt and confuse, and loved ones – our families – may exclude and betray us. We may never find clarity in these muddy waters, yet inside we can find peace through the simple acceptance of our trans selves.

It can be difficult. We can be disappointed, our hearts broken, our dignity lost, and our intentions misunderstood. Perceptions and innuendo can knock us from our foundations into churning waters of uncertainty. Yet we must be able to find a way to peace in the chaos that surrounds us. Within the baffling betrayals and silent misconceptions, we must do our best to find ourselves. Facing what might destroy us makes us stronger, better, wiser and better prepared for next time.

The actions of others are out of our control. Sometimes in our stillness we can find the strength to push through the terror and nightmarish recollections that every transgender knows. Dignity, pride and the certainty of who we are remain the armour of our true characters. In visibility we become who we are.

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The author of this post, Simran Shaikh, is a Programme Officer for Pehchan at India HIV/AIDS Alliance in New Delhi.

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