Prejudice and stigma against transgender people remain as a curse and self-contradiction to the idea of unity in diversity that India has been known for since long. The inclusion of transgender people in the mainstream society will not only help the country to strenghten its societal weaving but also strenghten the country’s economy as well.
India is a nation that preaches unity in diversity wherein individuals from all walks of life coexist and live in harmony. However, prejudice against transgender people still prevails in this country. It is mostly due to the stigma attached to transgender people in our culture becoming a source of prejudice. People in India are marginalised based on caste, class, gender, culture, geography, religion, and other factors. But why, exactly, is the question?
Individuals and groups are systematically kept away from resources, opportunities, and their rights through the process of marginalisation or social exclusion. As a result, people and communities are isolated from socio-economic, political, and cultural activity ensuring that power is returned to one individual or community, allowing them to exert complete control over others and resources thus excluding the vast majority of Indians from the industrial process due to various types of social exclusion.
In 2012, transgender women made up 53% of anti-LGBT homicide victims.
One such exclusion is that of transgender populations throughout the world, including in India. They’ve been the target of ridicule and societal rejection. They are also subjected to violence at the same time. Discrimination and violence against transgender persons are at an all-time high.
Around 90% of transgender persons say they have been harassed, mistreated, or discriminated against at work.
In 2012, transgender women made up 53% of anti-LGBT homicide victims. Because of their non-employability and unemployment, trans people are four times more likely to live in poverty. 90% of transgender persons say they have been harassed, mistreated, or discriminated against at work. When we fill certain forms or documents containing our information, there is always an option for ‘male’ or ‘female’, however ‘non-binary’ is rarely used as an option and this can make transgendered people extremely uncomfortable.
Murder, homelessness, and prison rates among trans people, particularly trans women of colour, are disturbingly high. In most countries, there are no proper safeguards for people who are discriminated against because of their gender identity or expression in housing, work, health care, and other sectors.
- How are transgenders discriminated against in society
Discrimination by their family
Families usually do not like it when their children want to change their gender identity. The family is unable to accept them as they are, with their current identities. Some parents resort to violence to influence their children’s behaviour. Few people take them to the doctor to get their “disease” treated. Most Indian families believe that their kids and girls are possessed, thus they take them to counsellors. The family does not want any of their children to be transsexual and therefore force their children to leave their houses or hide their identity in fear of being ridiculed by society.
Discrimination by their friends:
They usually are bullied and humiliated by their friend group, for who they are. Teachers ridicule or ignore them in front of other pupils, thereby causing difficulties in their studies. Trans people are usually forced to drop out of school due to the constant harassment and to go in search of individuals who are similar to them. They are occasionally subjected to sexual assault by friends and other teenagers in the community.
Transgenders are frequently turned down due to their gender before ever being allowed to interview or are frequently paid less when employed for positions.
Discrimination in workplaces:
Due to deep-seated societal discrimination and stigmas, they are frequently turned down due to their gender before ever being allowed to interview or are frequently paid less when employed for positions. They are frequently ostracised from local social groups. When they are just strolling about or doing work, they are always made fun of and stared at. They are sometimes even denied of their basic needs like using public restrooms in the workplace.
- How to end discrimination against transgenders:
Training teachers and students:
Discrimination is frequently inadvertent and occurs due to curiosity and misinformation too so educating people and oneself regarding the same is necessary. A negative remark may not be intended to threaten or isolate people under the LGBT spectrum. Employees and students need the training to acquire understanding and empathy. An exercise that investigates prevalent preconceptions, for example, raises awareness of prevalent misconceptions about the population under the LGBT spectrum and how mistaken words may poison a workplace or learning environment.
On a bigger scale, implementing a Safe Zone training that teaches students and staff about harmful language, how to intervene when discrimination happens, and how to give purposeful support to people under the LGBT community members sets the tone for a workplace free of hate speech and disrespect.
As per the transgender persons (protection of rights) bill 2019, trans people are equally eligible for employment, education, health care and other services.
Creating protective policies:
As per the transgender persons (protection of rights) bill 2019, trans people are equally eligible for employment, education, health care and other services. This bill prohibits discrimination in the workplace deters bad conduct and promotes an open and welcoming environment. The Manassas Park City School Board added the LGBT community to its general discrimination policy on February 26, 2018. Protective policies in schools allow students and staff to express their distinctive identities while also ensuring that they will be in a secure learning environment. More organizations need to divulge in these discrimination policies to support an unbiased work environment
In certain circumstances, school managements have resisted the formation of Gender Sexuality Alliances (GSA) among students that provide a chance for LGBT kids to talk about bullying and get support from one another.
Encourage the formation of LGBT support groups and convey a clear message that the organisation supports everyone and that discrimination against people from the LGBT spectrum should be eradicated. In certain circumstances, the school management has resisted the formation of Gender Sexuality Alliances among students (GSAs). GSAs provide a chance for LGBT kids to talk about bullying and get support from one another. Similarly, companies that promote LGBT employee resource groups make it clear that diversity is a top concern and that discrimination is not a corporate value. Affinity organisations that focus on LGBT problems provide employees with a sense of belonging, support, and reassurance.
If you are not sure about a person’s gender then do not assume it, you can respectfully ask them what pronouns they prefer and how they want to be referred to as.
Using language carefully:
It’s not only about avoiding hurtful remarks or comments in the workplace when it comes to transgender persons. Employers may take the initiative to be more inclusive. Respecting people’s preferred pronouns (terms like “he” and “she”) is crucial, even if they’re non-binary because their use indicates respect. Employers should ensure that data systems do not contain errors such as pronouns, titles, or obsolete names. Avoid using gendered languages as possible, such as using “people” instead of “men and women.” If you are not sure about a person’s gender then do not assume it, you can respectfully ask them what pronouns they prefer and how they want to be referred to as.
Transgender people, are one of India’s most marginalised groups, facing widespread discrimination and violence.
Transgender people, are one of India’s most marginalised groups, facing widespread discrimination and violence. Because of the social stigmas, our conservative culture has connected to the group, every debate regarding their rights is fraught with controversy. The taboo is so ingrained in our culture that it has created a phobia of transgender persons among the general public, particularly youngsters, who are instructed not to engage with them. If we want a better future for our country, it is important to be accepting.
We should teach kids from a young age about how we are all no different from each other.
We should teach kids from a young age about how we are all no different from each other. Everyone should be allowed to be what they want without having to face any kind of discrimination. Our gender should not define our self-worth. The constant exclusion and stereotypes set against transgenders are dividing our society and making it a difficult place to live in. We should make a comfortable environment so that people can open up without any fear.
Transgenders should be allowed to openly accept what they are and what they choose to be and society should welcome them with open arms.
Transgenders should be allowed to openly accept what they are and what they choose to be and society should welcome them with open arms. By doing this we will truly be able to evolve and develop as a happy, strong and united society.
(Sumit Agarwal is a public relations specialist, storyteller, media relations specialist, disability and inclusion SDG ambassador.)
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