Trans feminism or Trans Rights activism has been a rather new addition to the previously white or upper caste, savarna feminism of the mainstream. However, this certainly does not mean that Trans people and their lives, resistances, everyday struggles, bodies, thoughts and in general existence is a new invention. Although most people would like to believe as such, Trans people’s histories and biographies have been one of the most radical spaces of feminist discourse and movement, both in the grassroots as well as in the global scenario.
Violence against Trans people, especially Trans women have increased manifold today. Police brutality, hate speech, social stigma and a general attitude of ignorance of diversity have resulted in creating a hostile and intolerant space for Transgender people. Various structural forms of discrimination in sectors of employment and education further proliferate their vulnerabilities. Further, the horrendous Trans Bill or The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill too aims to police their structural and everyday mobility. At such a juncture, feminists outside the Trans community and with privilege must not only help them alleviate the social stigma against them, but also actively make space for them to speak and represent themselves in positions of power and change.
Here are a few quotes by Trans activists from India as well as its neighbouring country of Pakistan which does not sum up the entire movement, but definitely inspires you to keep fighting for Feminist goals of inclusivity and equality as a community.
1. A Revathi
“A few friends asked me why I have mostly detailed the violence I have had to face while rarely recounting pleasurable moments. I believe narrating acts of violence other hijras or I have faced is important to build awareness.” – A Revathi, trans woman and activist.
2. Joyita Mondol
“All governments want to appoint one person from a weaker community to a top post so that voices of others of the community are muffled. I would not let that happen.” – Joyita Mondol, first transgender judge of a Lok Adalat and social worker.
3. Kami Sid
“I was mocked in school and college because of my feminine behavior, but this rebel inside me never let me lose confidence May be this was my rebellious nature which never got me comfused in any circumstances. This rebel inside me taught to become optimistic. This rebellious nature made me fight for myself and my rights.” – Kami Sid, trans rights activist and first trans model in Pakistan.
4. Swati Bidhan Baruah
“In every religious community and for all times, the transgender community has been a part of the society. The problem is that present society is more interested in labelling us, and that’s because they are not sensitive to our issues and don’t want to discuss and open their minds.” – Swati Bidhan Baruah, Assam’s first trans judge.
5. Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju
“It’s important that we cultivate a culture wherein hatred simply isn’t tolerated. It isn’t enough simply not to be transphobic; it is important to stand firmly and actively against transphobia, when it is expressed by friends, parents, relatives, teachers, professors, governments. It is important that a cis person uses that space of privilege to amplify our voices and stand by us as we fight for our rights.” – Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, trans activist, artist and doctor.
Trans people in India still battle with its legal system to assert their rights as citizens, and not only that, but also citizens without supervision of the state, the police and the heteronormative and brahmanical society. Protests are not only organised by grassroots social bodies demanding justice, but Trans people’s lived experiences themselves become a site for dissent.
Also read: Item Songs, Transness And Guilty Pleasure
While a handful of representatives from the Trans community have been able to intervene status quos and hierarchies to make a space for themselves, others simply wait for their governments and the broader society to fight beside them, asking for equal and adequate representations.