Society Versus Transsexuals CamelliaSuman As I look out of the window, I see my friend for the last time. I have no clue as to whether I will be able to see him ever again. He has made up his mind to settle in the USA, and he had come to bid goodbye. Tears roll down from my cheeks as I pray for his happiness. We had been friends since childhood, and we did everything together. But it was not until Graduation Day when he disclosed the secret that he had held closed to his heart all these years – he was a girl trapped in a man’s body, and he wanted to be liberated and live as a woman. I was shocked! I thought he was joking at first. But then I realized that he was serious. Confused, I went home and did a thorough research and discovered the term ‘transsexuals’. The medical dictionary defines transsexuals as ‘A person who strongly identifies with the opposite gender and who chooses to live as a member of the opposite gender or to become one by surgery.’ It dawned on me that it is as natural to be a transsexual as to be a boy or a girl. As I read more online, I began to understand the turmoil that he must be going through, especially being part of our so-called ‘conservative’ society. When my friend confided to his parents, they were shocked and in utter disbelief. They turned a deaf ear to their only son, and reassured him that this was a passing phase. My friend lived on, hoping that one day his parents will accept and things will be different. But fate had other plans. A few months later, he was forced into a marriage, a marriage that he was unable to consummate. The wife later learnt of his predicament and felt cheated. The world was coming to an end for my friend– he was unhappy with his own physical being, his parents were ashamed of him and refused to listen to him, his friends turned their backs on him when they heard what he had to say, and his wife blamed him every day for ruining her life. He wanted to break free. He wanted to live life on his own terms. As he did more research, he learnt about sex reassignment surgery which would help him transform into a woman. But he knew that his parents would never accept his decision. With no other option left, he decided to move to the USA where he could lead a normal life without being judged by society.
As I look at him go, I feel that there were so many things that I could have done, so many things that I could have said to help him in his predicament. But, then again, what could I have done? The society is so strong in its views that it will take a massive revolution to shake it. It feels as though the society has blinders on that prevents it from having any other viewpoint, which is strange. Sex change is not something new. In a society that is largely dominated by Hindu texts like the Mahabharata and the Ramayana and where we have numerous Gods to worship, sex change has been a part of our fables since time immemorial. Arjuna from the Mahabharata was a eunuch named Brihannala as a result of a curse, and he taught song and dance to the king’s daughter in the kingdom of Virata during the last year of his exile. But did we condemn him for becoming a eunuch? No! Rather we tell this story with much pride. Shikhandi, child of King Draupad (from Mahabharata), was born a woman but later became a man and fought in the great war of Kurukshetra. But was he ostracized by society? NO! Rather he stood proud with the Pandavas during the war. The more I delve into this matter, the more I am ashamed of the hypocrisy of our society – on one hand we worship these Gods and on the other we condemn those who follow in their footsteps. Tell me one thing – do we not worship the androgynous form of the Hindu God Shiva and his consort Parvati, also referred to as Ardhanarishvara? So why is it that we cannot accept the fact that there are those who are born in the wrong gender or those who are members of the third gender? It pains my heart to see how these people are unable to lead normal lives due to societal pressures, and how ending life is a better option for them than coming out of the closet. We talk of laws supporting homosexuals and the like, but unless we change our own mindsets the laws are of no use. I leave the thinking to you….
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