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There are certain attributes, roles, behaviors and patterns we associate with an individual to identify their gender. Third gender is commonly the term we associate with a transgender. Transgenders have gender identity conflicting with the sex assigned to them.
In this article we will share the life story and experiences of a common transgender. Due to privacy issues, real identity of the interviewee shall not be revealed.
My name is Julie. My birth name was Muhammad Ali. I had 4 more siblings other than me; two elder brothers, two sisters and then I was born. Yes, I am the youngest child of my parents. I miss my mother and my sisters a lot. They cried too much when once my father beat me so hard. They were willing to accept me for who I am.
Men are strong and women are weak. I don’t believe this myth. Men should learn the art of compassion from women.
I was six years old when people started criticizing my walking style. They told me men don’t walk this way. I liked my sister’s clothes more than my own clothes. By the time I turned to 9, my family started the use of violence to stop me. Nothing was in my control. On Eid day, I wore bangles of my sister and went outside the house to greet everybody. People laughed at me like anything. An old man of our area laughed at my father that he gave birth to a transgender.
My father was so enraged when he came back to the home. The happiness of eid suddenly turned into tears. He started beating me with a stick. Broke my bangles and my arms started bleeding. Seeing this view, my mother jumped in and my sisters were also begging my father to leave me. But he did not listen to anybody. Since that day I started hating men because they care about nobody but their fake ego.
I can still feel those tears dropped on my cheeks when my mother was weeping to hold me in her lap. I still miss the warmth of her lap and shade of her dupatta. Wish I could hide there again. People say men are strong beings and women are weak. I don’t think so. What is the use strength that comes after dissociating all your so-called weaknesses? If you want to know about strength then observe a woman who never disowns her as well as the weaknesses of people she loves. Men need to learn the art of compassion from women.
I was thirteen years old when I escaped from my house. I did not want to be a symbol of disgrace for my family.
Time passed. I was growing. My father didn’t allow me to make friends outside. My elder brother had a caring attitude towards me but he was helpless in front of my father. I was different but people around me were not willing to accept it. Was that my fault? Why do people abuse creation when they have this firm belief that God never makes a mistake?
I was dying to get love and acceptance from my family for being me. I was scared of my father. His cold attitude was killing me inside. If God resides in this world, he resides there in the form of a mother. My mother was the only person on the planet who accepted me as her part. She loved me wholeheartedly. Her life became a hell due to the existence of a transgender child. My father used to shout at her when she used to protect me from him.
My sisters used to make me happy by giving their toys and ornaments in the absence of my father. I had no understanding about what is going on with me till 10. When my own thought process started developing, it had the influence of my past experiences. I was not allowed to go to school like my siblings. I wanted to get social but my life was like a caged bird at my house. It was difficult for me to understand this discriminatory behavior at that point in my life. I wanted to escape from that cage that’s why I left my home at the age of 13.
No matter which path we select, life is not easy for us. I can’t put the pain of unwantedness in words.
Before leaving my home, I met a transgender like me. He told me this world doesn’t belong to us. Don’t become a problem for your mother. If you want to feel acceptance then join the world where you will find people like you. I thought this is the best way to escape and feel acceptance. I left my home without telling anyone.
Deep inside my heart, I was wishing for my parents to find me, to realize how empty their life is without me. I had this belief they will find me and value me despite being different than their other children. This hope died when the one who brought me there told that my father is not trying to find me. He is telling everyone that whatever happened is good for him and the rest of his kids. He said he knew that I am now at the place where I belong. That was the day when I felt I was born an orphan. I cried a lot and prepared myself mentally that I have to fight this battle all alone. My mother is the only person I miss, but I know she is helpless. She is dependent on my father so she can’t take any step for her unwanted child.
I started begging like my fellows initially. You have to sell your self-respect for buying food for survival. In fact, everything in this world is a game of survival. A transgender doesn’t know exactly when his soul dies but for the survival of the body, he needs to beg, dance and amuse normal people. We don’t live by being dependent on others but our Creator. Our creator is enough for us. We know he loves us. His love gives us the strength to fight with all odds.
People don’t accept us for who we are. They also don’t let us live in our own little space.
We don’t want to be a symbol of disgrace for our families. We leave because we can’t live with them due to societal pressure. Is that not enough for people? They don’t want us to live with our families. Fine! But why do they criticize when they see us begging or dancing for money to get food for our survival?Acceptance is their choice and if they don’t accept us they have no right to criticize us for what we are doing. Being deprived of love and education what else you expect us to do? Will, this society give any transgender a job to clean their homes like any female or male sweeper? Will they help us for the sake of God or without any interest? No!
Before pointing fingers at transgenders they must make sure their hands are clean. A transgender can’t pass through the streets of this society without facing harassment, even from little kids.
Before telling us the right path, they must make one for us to walk. No doubt in it that transgenders today have more rights than before. Activists are working hard to get us acknowledged as humans by giving all the legal rights a human must have. Nothing can be achieved in its true sense unless people won’t accept us as their part. We want to live with our families and spend a cheerful childhood just like normal kids. Equal opportunities are also our right. We want to be accepted and treated like all other human beings. May all these movements for transgender’s rights help this society to understand and accept the fact that gender identity is not a disorder. We deserve to be respected and accepted like all other human beings. May the transgenders of coming times don’t face the kind of discrimination and unwantedness we have faced. I can’t put my pain of unwantedness in words. I can only pray and hope for the best because hope and firm belief on Creator is the kind of strength that keeps you moving forward.
Maida Khan has done Masters in Mass Communication from NUST. She is a part-time lecturer teaching TV Production courses.
Writing is her hobby, and she is a vocal activist.