Saturday, December 8, 2012

Reimagining the "Weird"

“When I go out, I see people point at me and make fun of me. I come back and would cry out. I would curse myself for what I am. I also refrain from moving around much”, she said. She is a eunuch.

As she said that, I felt guilty as many times I also used to try for a second look. Unlike many others, I may refrain from sniggering at them but I would make them conscious and unknowingly, remind them of their status in this heterosexual society. Like many others, I would found them “different”, more specifically, “weird”, “peculiar” or “abnormal”. I would try to imagine how they can like someone of their own gender or about those people who consider themselves of the other gender. I would find it hard to imagine and would even find it “funny”.

But now I ponder why it is “funny” and “unimaginable”? As we must recall, women coming out of the domestic sphere and performing tasks which were dominated by men was also “funny” at some point of time. Jokes about women and their capabilities still have a circulation but they get challenged now. So they are no longer “funny” for some. So maybe “funny” is just a perception and related with time and space. “Funny” is a tool for suppression.

Yes, they are “different”. But the difference only lies, I realized, in their way of perceiving themselves and choosing who to get attracted to. But there also emerges a problem in this. Is it about how they perceive themselves or how we perceive them? Are the genders and sexes really two? Is that the biological reality? Have we assumed heterosexuality?

A fact of nature tells us that homosexuality, hermaphroditism and other forms of alternate sexualities exist in animal species as well. Male bats have a huge tendency for homosexuality. A more known fact is about hydra which is clearly hermaphrodite.

So how is it unnatural as many have claimed? Works of Social scientists have shown alternate sexualities to have been deeply woven into the political, social and economic fabric of societies across the world. But even if we do not get into the social and science part of the debate, let’s think from a human perspective.
They have different or alternate preferences but aren’t they still human beings? Do we have any right to humiliate them? Do they harm us in any way so why does their existence cripple our minds so much? They are not “cursed” or “sick” or anything. They are as much as a creation of the God as we are. Why does their private life matter so much to us?

20th November is celebrated as the “International Transgender Day of Remembrance”. The Day is celebrated in memory of all those transgendered people who were murdered by those suffering from the “mental disorder” of homophobia. Owing to my limited knowledge, the two names that I know are of Harvey Milk and Dr. Srinivas Ramachandran Siras. Harvey Milk was the first Gay American politician. He had contested elections, in response to the increasing cases of murder and torture of transgendered people in his region. He was assassinated by another politician. Dr. Siras was a renowned professor in Aligarh Muslim University. After his identity of being a homosexual was revealed, he was suspended. He had also received death threats and after few months, was allegedly murdered.

But there exists thousands and probably millions of unknown victims. It may be hard for us to “understand” them. But we, as the so-called “civilized” beings, have no right to humiliate them. Next time, we feel tempted to stare at them, let’s imagine the situation when for some reason, we were being stared at or was mocked at. I am sure it will not be hard to imagine. 

alsp published @ countercurrents

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