When hijras/transgenders are born in a family, they are neither accepted by males nor by females of their family, for the reason that they belong to the third kind and people around them cannot accept them.
They don’t get the right to get the education, get a job to earn the livelihood and basically no human right. “Indians attribute a sacred power to them. They are often considered vulgar and are sometimes despised, mostly silently, and harassed,” according to Dr. Serena Nanda, a professor of anthropology, who has written a book on Kinnars.
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They are recognized to exist but are discriminated against. A lot of people raise their voices and say that ‘they are also human beings and should be given the opportunity to lead a normal life’. And then it is the same people who use and abuse them and exploit them in the worst manners for their own satisfaction. This brings us to the shameful but a much prevalent problem of our society, Eunuch prostitution. Late at night, one can see these Kinnars standing at bus stops in the markets and in the very famous Red Light area. Some of them keep waiting for their clients, the other attracting men. Their clients are ‘normal’ men, who allow themselves both a wife and a hijra. Some even have longtime lovers, who say that hijras are not real men because they don’t have that essence.
After facing the concept of prostitution by eunuchs and transgenders, one is forced to ponder over the fact that who are the people responsible for their sexual abuse?
They are exploited by homosexuals who pick them up from different places and pay them for a one night stand. “It’s the men in uniforms who exploit them the most”. “People think transgenders are public property to be used and abused at will. A disease like HIV is not enough to give them a shock. All they have is a guru who looks after them and provides them with financial as well as emotional security.
My gut wrenches when I try to think of the backdrop of a bunch of transgenders happily singing and dancing at a wedding. There is so much behind that uncanny laughter, so many painful stories in those bright eyes that it makes me wonder, ‘Are they not humans? Don’t they deserve one chance to live at peace with us?
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There are several NGOs which are fighting for the rights of these people but it’s just not enough. People like you and me have to change our mindset. We have to stop being judgmental all the time. Try to think why a eunuch is begging at traffic signals rather than cursing and moving on? Why are they being alienated in our society? Yes, they are different but does that take away their right to have a peaceful life. It’s time for all of us to realize how insensitive we have been towards them and change this attitude!
No one chooses to live this way. It’s the circumstances that make them do so.
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