Ep 1: Transgender and Family Reconstruction
“Thieves”, “beggars” “Twisted”, “prostitutes” transgender women are often mocked, marginalized, or even rejected by a part of society. However, the journey of a person who wishes to bring their sex assigned at birth into consistency with their personal perception of their gender requires courage and determination. Family breakdown is often inevitable and gender communities are sometimes an essential aid to the excluded, to rebuild family security and find a new place in society.
What is a transgender journey, when and how do you perceive the inconsistency between your sex of birth and your gender? What obstacles arise when you choose to change your gender? What efforts could society make to support transgender people?
To answer these questions, Shachi Irde examines the articulations between society and gender in the company of two guests, Nila Ma, transgender woman, activist, and Founder & Director of Pharm Foundation at Public Charitable Trust, and Jesulyn Divya E, student of the Alliance Française de Madras, finalist of the Eloquentia competition, with a text on transgender discrimination.
Jesulyn’s college professor’s response to her curious question why transwomen are not admitted to her college led her to delve deeper into the challenges faced by trans people.
Jesulyn says “that very moment, I realized how hard it is for a trans person to get education, and also how privileged I am. And also, that in the constant battle for gender equality between men and women, we tend to forget the existence of trans people and their struggles”.
Rejecting the rejection
Nila hightlights the importance of family acceptance. She had to come out to her parents when they were forcing her to get married. So when her family called her and told their conditions -no begging and no sex work, she was more than happy to comply.
And if trans persons leave their family and try to live on their own, they have trouble finding a job and a place to stay.
Nila says – “While I was searching for job in Chennai, there were many instances that were very insulting. One such instance – to create a resume you have to stich a photo and when I went to a studio to get a photograph, the studio owner was very insulting and “He said, like, No, no, no, just don’t come here (he shooed saying out out out). We don’t have change to give you.” I was just thinking why the society is like, he didn’t ask me for what purpose you came in. And he didn’t give a respect to me, right? So I felt very insulted.”
Nila’s request as a transgender woman:
T – Treat us equal
R – Respect us as you want others to respect you
A – Allow us to prove our potential
N – Never limit us based on Gender
S – Societal Acceptance is the need of the hour
G – Genderphobia should not exist
E – Employ us for our talents & interests
N – National priority should be an inclusive society
D – Do show us some love
E – Enable us, Empower us and we will
R – Reach great heights
Clearing The Haze –Making The Invisible Visible is a woman gaze series of podcasts on gender, equality, generation, and related issues produced by Shachi Irde on the occasion of the Generation Equality Forum and supported by the Embassy of France in India, the Institut Français in India and the Alliance Française in India.
Directed by: Shachi Irde | Technical support by: Hemant Soreng
Proposed by: Alliance française of Madras
Rap credit: Nila M, author, and performer
Podcast Summary: Transgender and Family Reconstruction
Host: Shachi Irde
01:32: Nila’s introduction
02:37: Jesulyn’s introduction. How you got interested in the lives of trans people.
04:10: [To Nila] When did you know you are differently gendered? How did you disclose or come out – to your parents? How did your friends react?
06:41: [To Jesulyn] – People are still very unaware of the challenges Trans people go thru. Can you share some of your findings?
09:32: [To Nila] You mentioned that you ran away from home. Could you share your journey from there to today? What happened? How did you survive?
17:44: [To Jesulyn] What do you wish the public knew about transgender people?
19:16: [To Nila] What is the biggest or most common misconception about trans people?
21:42: [To Jesulyn] Can you share some of the inequalities trans people face that others don’t usually face and how can we help?
25:50: [To Nila] What is your message to our fellow listeners?
27:11: [To Jesulyn] How can we be an ally?
28:56: Conclusion. Outro. Nila’s rap song.