Put yourself in their shoes


I was reading an online newspaper the other day, and came upon the tear-jerking news story about the suicide of a teen transgender. The news report had the heart-wrenching suicide note that ‘she’ had left on ‘her’ social media page. The 1000+ words post gave a vivid account of ‘her’ prolonged battle with all those who relentlessly kept denying ‘her’ gender identity, due to fear of societal backlash. ‘Her’ suicide note ends with the hope that her story would help ‘fix society’ someday.

Our bigoted world thus lost yet another talented teenager who desperately wanted to live a dignified life like any other normal human being. But the world around has robbed her off the happiness and peace ‘she’ wished for, thus making ‘her’ take a sudden and drastic step in the hope to find peace in heaven, far away from the prejudiced world that kept mocking at ‘her’ gender transition each day. Although I couldn’t fathom ‘her’ pain and anguish, ‘her’ story was thought-provoking, as it unveiled the intense pain of being trapped to live with a wrong identity and persona. It also made me think about the sadness, hopelessness, and desperation of many others transgenders who continue to hope for a day when their community gets the deserved freedom, respect and equality. The more I tried to shake away my thoughts about their plight, the more they kept bumping on to me, and I was soon engrossed in an stream of thoughts about the predicaments of transgenders who struggle to live a normal life each day, in our supposedly progressive world.

While there are no statistical backing to support this statement, I can undoubtedly say that the increasing number of suicides of transgender people indicate the horrifying narrow-mindedness of our society. Every time I happen to read about the distressing stories of transgenders who continually face rejection discrimination, victimization, violence, and mockery from family, friends, and society, I cannot help but wonder why the world is so hell-bent on making the life of transgenders miserable and hellish. A society that cannot extent a hand of acceptance shouldn’t be keen on finding ways to marginalize transgenders, as they too deserve the same rights that we enjoy each day. Sadly, due to constant marginalization and vilification, most of them embrace death, in the hope to break free from the torments that they undergo each day.

Throughout my life, I’ve always treated transgenders with equal respect. No matter wherever I meet them, unlike those who leave no stones unturned to intimidate them with blatant stares and lewd comments, I have keenly maintained the warmth and normalcy that makes them feel at ease. This is because, I strongly believe that if knowing another person’s life or perspective is beyond our limits, accepting them in the way they are is the best way to let them live their lives peacefully and dignifiedly. However, most of the times, the world around me hardly show the time and patience to respect the persona and feelings of transgenders.

When did we realize our gender? Can anyone of us recall whether it was a choice that we made, or it happened subconsciously? The process of gender recognition remains the same for all, but unlike us who can easily categorize ourselves, transgenders are unable to fully express themselves, or, find it hard to defy the societal norms for righting what has been described as wrong and sinful for ages. So, if we lack the ability to decipher the worry that they are into, let’s not freak out or make a big deal of it. Looking beyond the age-old man woman classification is a matter of shame to several people, but, I believe this is inevitable, as one can really understand a person only by climbing into his/her skin and walking around in it. Desolation and suicides of transgenders are real and serious subjects that require immediate action, but sadly they are often evaded as our dogmatic mind-sets fail to recognize the struggle of those who live the misery of getting entrapped in an identity that’s dynamically opposite to their entire self. As we continue our tightrope walk in the world of hatred, wars, communal riots, and deadly disease, we make living more difficult by failing to love and accept each other.

Trans, gay or straight, love and acceptance are what they yearn for, the reason why we have to look at the world around beyond the contours of traditional gender classifications.

Transgenders are not outcastes. They remain so for being trapped in bodies of the wrong gender. They are neither delusional nor psychotic. It’s just that their inside doesn’t match the outside. Transgender people should be bestowed the same respect that we deserve. Their bodies are their own so are their mind and freedom to live with dignity and equality.

Considering the fact that they keep facing a sea of struggles from both within themselves and outside world, why not lessen their challenges by accepting them for the way they are?

Anecdote – How does it feel like getting trapped in a strange place? Or how would you respond if you were forced to dress in opposite-gender clothing and follow a variant behaviour throughout a week? It’s not just suffocating and terrifying, but might also trigger immeasurable rage and anguish, driving you to the verge of madness. If that’s what you might experience for those momentary transformations, can you fathom the anger and sadness of a soul that gets trapped in a wrong body throughout the entire life?

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