When a baby is born, a doctor, parent, or birth attendant announces the arrival of a “girl” or “boy” instantly. This on-spot assignment governs many aspects of our lives. It’s also something that most of us never question. However, some people do.
Their gender develops differently from their girl or boy birth assignment that does not conform to rigid standard notions of woman or man. These people are called transgender.
Transgender is the individual whose gender identity and expression do not correspond to the sex assigned at birth. Gender identity is an individual’s internal sense of being female, male, or something else. While gender expression is how that person expresses gender identity to others through actions, clothes, hairstyles, speech, or body characteristics.
When we think of gender equality, the first thing that pops in mind is equally male and female rights. But what about the rights of transgender people? Why are they deprived of fundamental human rights?
Gender development should not affect a person’s ability to exercise constitutional rights, such as being accepted by their government or accessing health care, education, or jobs. But it does for transgender people in a very humiliating, aggressive, and often fatal way.
Why Transgender equality important? – Transgender people frequently face transphobic harassment. Oppression doesn’t end here. They even face discrimination in their own families and educational institutes, jobs and housing, government settings, and legal and judicial systems. Being trans is considered a sin in many countries, and they suffer for something they had no control on.
For example, transgender people are not openly discussed in Asian society. As a result, society remains rigid and unsupportive of it.
The increased marginalization and discrimination of transgender individuals diminished the access of trans people to public services. Social isolation, lack of regulation and policy regarding health, accommodation, and the law contribute to transgender discrimination in Asian culture.
Transgender and social isolation
Do we genuinely accept transgender people without judging? Why do they feel the need to hide their identity?
Transgender people are generally subjected to massive social pressure to hide their identity and set themselves in gender binaries. Failure to do so results in countless problems for them, ranging from harassment to lack of education and job opportunities. All of this intensifies their sufferings and lowers their standards of living.
Transgender people don’t get jobs because of their identity. They get socially stigmatized by their society, leading them to engage in professions like commercial sex, which puts their lives at risk.
A large number of people around the world want their government to do more to help and protect transgender people. But they will have their rights if all factors of their identities, including race, class, sexual orientation, etc., are accepted by society. All of these oppressions are connected, so they must all be abolished.
For example, in Asian countries, transgender individuals often face rejection from their families, educational institutes, jobs, and whatnot. The story doesn’t end here. They can’t even get medical assistance because they are not categorized in gender binary to get medical insurance and legal protection.
Transgender Equality rights
How do we protect transgender rights? What role do we play in transgender equality and social inclusion?
A variety of international and regional mechanisms safeguard transgender people’s privileges, and many countries have recognized the rights of transgender people. They have made sex reassignments legal by allowing a modification of legal identity on a person’s birth certificate.
However, punitive national laws, regulations, and activities target transgender people by having complicated procedures for modifying identity papers, depriving transgender people of their rights, and restricting their access to justice.
We need to look into this matter and take proper measures to acknowledge our society’s transgender rights. Understanding the importance of treating transgender people like normal human beings is crucial.
Transgender right activists
Today, many transgender people are fighting for their rights at a global level. Their struggles and hardships have brought change.
For example, Aisha Mughal, a Pakistani transgender woman, has broken the stereotypes. She was named one of the most influential transgender people globally for the year 2020. She made history by representing Pakistan at the United Nations as part of the official delegation and serving as a role model for other community fellows.
Mughal has been serving as a transgender rights specialist and pivotal person for the Ministry of Human Rights. She aims to end all forms of discrimination against transgender people.
The current image of the transgender community is full of obstacles with a few dots of opportunity. Taking appropriate steps focused on transgender equality and raising awareness among people should transform this picture.