Anjana is a final year medical student at KMC, Manipal. She strongly believes that words alone have an inexplicable power to bring about the change that we wish to see in our society. She owns a blog which she uses to bring a change in society and to give her readers a gentle soothe.
A Free Society = Blue and pink + Rainbow
– Anjana J. R.
“The 17th of June, about a decade ago, a boy was born. You see, he was not the prince in his story. He was not the knight in shining armour. He was a warrior princess. That’s who he wanted to be”
– Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, a transgender, a proud part of the LGBTQ+ community, a final year medical student and an aspiring surgeon.
Trinetra, a young, resilient and beautiful woman was not always the person who she is now. After being trapped in the body of a male for almost two decades, she decided to end the discrepancy between what her mind and her body were telling her. Across various countries and amidst the pages of various ancient religious texts, lies the belief that homosexuality and transgender, being established sins, can be prayed away. It has been stated and believed that the idea of God’s creation was of two distinct and complementary genders- the male and the female. Any thoughts outside this box will disrupt God’s order of nature and violate the dignity of human beings.
Trinetra rightly speaks of the binaries that exist in India- blue and pink, man and woman, engineers and doctors. Binaries, according to me, are unfortunately still the core around which our comfort zones and understanding of various concepts revolve (especially when it comes to our knowledge regarding gender and sex, the difference between the two and sexual orientation). So, with a society that is so used to binaries and strict regulations, how could we possibly expect an understanding of the concept of a spectrum? How could we give our people a rainbow when their minds have been trained since birth, to identify only blue and pink? How could we expect them to accept it without backlashes and boycott?
When asked what word would describe her pre-transition phase, she said, “Transient”. The one word that would describe the society around her? “Hostile”. After years of being victimized by imprisonment in her body (that she felt wasn’t her own), a constant feeling of discomfort, depression, stereotypes, slut-shaming and bullying, even by our own medical fraternity, Trinetra fought her way, up and through, to become the fiercely beautiful woman that she is now. This is just the story of one. There are so many Trinetra in our country fighting their own battles of acceptance and dignity, to question what defines our right and wrong, our hell and heaven, and our sins and goodness.
What exactly is Section 377 and what does it say?
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was actually introduced in 1861 when India was still being ruled by the British and it modelled the Buggery Act of 1553. It states: “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal shall be punished with imprisonment for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and also shall be liable to fine.” However, after years of resistance and struggle, the LGBTQ+ community was finally able to flaunt their rainbow colours as the Supreme Court passed a landmark verdict decriminalizing Section 377 of the IPC.
Although this historic verdict brought the community its rightful freedom, are they really free?
Are we Indians actually free to choose our sexuality, our sexual anatomy and our partners? Although, it has been over a year since the ban on homosexuality has been lifted, there hasn’t been much difference in the general mindset of the society. There still exists a majority that hasn’t been sensitized and educated about the concept of transgender and pansexuality. It’s still been considered a mental disease by not only the general population but also various doctors across the country. And there definitely exist innumerable people who haven’t come out, due to the fear of the stigma attached to being a part of the LGBTQ+ community.
It is high time that we focus on educating not only the youth but also the elder population who have been made to believe that normality constitutes only male and female. This would require various initiatives from the government, our medical fraternity and also a change in our education system. Efforts should also be made towards changing our age-old traditional beliefs regarding what is normal and what isn’t. Inclusion is an integral component of the issue at hand; each one must be encouraged to accept the LGBTQ+ community as one of their own without any hostility and violence. Acceptance and love are basically what every human being requires, regardless of their sexual orientation and preferences. Therefore, it is only just and humane that we are taught to spread love and kindness. I’m hopeful that we will eventually be able to bring sunshine and along with it, a rainbow!
The opinions expressed are of the writer.