In conversation with Adv Pratibha Bangera to understand the Transgender Person (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 and changes that may have to be introduced in school and work place in effect.
General Information About Transgender
Q. What is the difference between a Transgender and Transsexual?
A. A person not comfortable with his/her birth gender and feels trapped in wrong gender or body and likes dressing in contrast to gender at birth and often wish they were born with opposite gender are called transgender. They may or may not want to opt for surgery and some may even be comfortable with their gender but only wish to wear clothes and hair and be addressed as opposite gender and may want to remain in their original genitals at birth.
Whereas a transsexual is a person who starts to suffer gender “disphoria” a mental condition developed due to long standing internal conflict since childhood as a result of which opts and successfully changes sexual identity through surgery, name and identity. A male changing into woman is called a transwoman and a female changing into a male is called as a transman.
Q. What about people who have genital deformity at birth and how are they different from transgender
A. It is a medical condition and only one in 1500 or 2000 birth in the world may have been born with genital deformity. Some animals have both male and female sex organs and are hermaphrodites. A rare human may have such physical condition due to which he or she may also undergo emotional trauma but there is no gender dysphoria and such people may go for correctional surgery.
Transgender on the contrary has complete functional sexual organs capable of reproduction but does not identify with their birth genitalia. Some transgender may start feeling better when allowed to dress as they please while others may want a complete identity change and may not be satisfied unless they go for a sex change and may require hormonal treatments or sex change to have genitalia matching to their mental gender.
Q. What are the main problems faced by transgender from birth
A. Transgender faces less than human status at some time or the other as there is lack of education or awareness among people. Parents of transgender children themselves can’t cope with the situation when they find their child starts dressing up or behaving differently or playing with toys which are not conventionally matching their gender, parents may develop “transphobia” and start being strict or restrict their children from displaying such mannerisms more due to fear of being ridiculed or ostracized.
There is very little awareness about this and even the medical world has taken a long time to understand this mental condition. Such children born in poor families with lack of awareness are discriminated by parents and also thrown out of their houses or undergo correction therapies which are banned and the transgender child undergo deep psychological conflict and often run away from homes being unable to bear the emotional, physical and mental torture and end up begging or in wrong hands and are forced into prostitution.
Eventually they reach out to their own community of transgender for support but certain wrong groups may force such abandoned children into prostitution and begging due to which there is rampant spread of venereal diseases and AIDS and such children grown up to be labeled with wrong names and also denied jobs and education and face trouble while using public toilets etc.
Even children born to affluent parents may not have complete awareness about their own child and what he or she could be going through in day to day life. While most progressive countries including India has introduced Legal reforms many countries still look down upon transgender who flee and seek refuge in countries where members of LGBT or queer community or transgender have legal rights and can live respectably where their basic fundamental rights are safe. A child does not have much awareness and thus struggles with such feelings till onset of adolescence when physical attractions starts to develop for romance or love. While a gay or a lesbian person may not be a transgender who feels trapped in a wrong body, a transgender may be attracted to people from same sex or even get attracted and prefer romance with opposite gender like a straight person. In this regard, a transgender can be sexually straight person. Many transgenders do not like being equated as gay or lesbian because their internal feelings are not arising out of sexual attraction. They generally want to be called or addressed opposite to their birth gender and want to be given the freedom to feel openly their choice of preferred dressing attire or mannerisms.
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