I Can’t Believe You Laugh At This: The Edition Of Just Why I Want To Live In A Cave

“Trans-sexuals are those people on the street who clap in that peculiar way to announce their arrival” say people as a way of explanation. “Give them money, they’ll go away. Otherwise they touch you with those hands” admonished my aunt. I didn’t fully gauge this marginalization till I read the ‘Kite Runner‘ by Khaled Hosseini — my first brush with the notion that transgender isn’t always necessarily a choice here. Who knew being cisgendered would turn out to be a privilege one day?

“These hijras are all prostitutes Madam. They like it” tells the watchman near the red light area. As I talked to Maya, a trans-woman and sex-worker for the past 12 years, she says, “Men come to us. We’re women down there. They don’t mind it even if we don’t have the upper half of women’s bodies”. She adds, “Little boys make the best dancers. If you train them well enough, they can soon forget what they were before“. As I stared at her, she huffed angrily, “We give little lost boys a home. They’d be rotting in the gutters otherwise”. There are boys as young as 6 or 7 years old, dressed as girls; laughing at a distance. What my too brief visit to the trans-sexual commune didn’t highlight are the weekly visits by policemen and officers (as free customers) ; the harassment they face on the streets, how some young boys are castrated to make them follow the transsexual way of living, the underground prostitution rings and of course, the status of being less than a ‘second-grade’ citizen.

This being only the modicum of issues that surround trans-sexuality, it’s really appalling to see the media so shamelessly USING them to laugh and joke. As seen in the dance above, even in concepts as harmless as ‘dance fusion’ trans-sexuality is used to get points and appreciation from the audience.

For that last time I want to say – Trans-sexuality isn’t a joke. It’s not a disease. Crouching away from the hijra that comes along your vehicle in a traffic jam or just dismissing them with some loose change isn’t a part of the solution anymore. They are P-E-O-P-L-E. They deserve to be treated so.

An extremely Jaded16

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7 Comments

  1. Jasper

     /  May 26, 2010

    Good lord woman! Why does this concern you? You’re not a trans are you? And getting so warmed up over a dance is a LITTLE over the top. I say, stop talking and just concentrate on getting some laughs out. You’ve been so sloppy in that area lately.

    Reply
    • See here people, THIS nasty one above is a troll. My politest troll at that. So, people who are in his favour, GET THE HELL OUT OF MY BLOG!

      @ Jasper – This concerns me because I’m human. But I suppose you won’t understand that end of the argument. Here’s one you will understand – Shut The F*ck Up. Message brought to you by humanity.

      Reply
  2. I don’t fully understand your post. Is it offensive because there was ‘gender-bending’? I’m not sure that is offensive, and I certainly don’t think they were being laughed at. I think it was entertaining because it was so courageous, and because it was executed with reasonable skill.

    If the gender-bending had been met with ridicule or derision, I would understand your outrage. But I think that is at least ambiguous, if not clearly not the case. One can also interpret this as a violation of ordinary gender norms, and a depiction of how a male person can be comfortable in feminine behaviours and attire.

    I also don’t think transgenderism is as unproblematic as you have implied in your post. Transgenderism exists because gender exists, and in a world without gender, there would be no transgenderism. Though transpeople are persecuted and treated badly — and they shouldn’t be — this is not a ‘birth condition’ as the disease model implies (and I hate the disease model, of anything), but the product of the socially constructed institutions of gender.

    There is a feminist critique of transgenderism out there, just so you know.

    Reply
    • The reason I found this act offensive is that the very identity of a trans-sexual or even a trans-gender person was used as a device to earn the audience/judges. We find jokes on women, jokes on marginalised communities offensive. So why not this?

      The Indian trans-sexual community is anyway socially ostracized because of their “physical abnormalities”. When trans-sexuality is treated so lightly in performances as this, you’re subtly derailing the issue. This is what I find deeply offensive.

      Reply
  3. matt

     /  May 27, 2010

    @ komal : I think the post is pretty freaking clear. People’s identities aren’t devices to play with. Ever. In whichever form.

    @ Jaded : good, strong writing on this one!

    Reply
    • Well, I would find jokes on transgendered people offensive in most circumstances. But in this case there didn’t seem to be any joke. It seemed he was simply entertaining the audience in drag, and added entertainment value by a sort of drag switch routine, where he would go in and out of his ‘normal’ gender presentation.

      I guess that could be seen as offensive to women, since he might be said to be appropriating women’s clothes and the female gender identity. But if that’s offensive, then transgenderism might also be seen as offensive in the same vein (since it may also be said to involve appropriation).

      I did think that this was fairly benign though, unlike many jokes that actually dehumanize and belittle women, transgendered people, gays and lesbians, etc.

      Reply
  1. I Can't Believe You Laugh At This: The Edition Of Just Why I Want … Contact

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