They are Humans, I am a Disease

As a child I had a house to live, friends beside,
now the only place I can have is ghettos,
now the only friend I have is darkness.
Though I am alive just like them;
I am not supposed to breathe.
Because for them;
They are respectful, I am a displease.
They are humans, I am a disease.

The school teacher taught, “Be yourself.”
But they made me an object of abuse,
by shamelessly stripping me,
when I showed them the real me.
I am still their laughing-stock,
for carrying a book in my hand.
Though I have brains just like them;
I am not supposed to learn.
Because for them;
They are respectful, I am a displease.
They are humans, I am a disease.

Draped in a bright saari,
shining in gold earrings,
retouched by some make up,
I dance like a woman in front of those,
who look at me with disgust,
who give me a sly leer.
Though I have passion in me;
I am not supposed to have a dream.
Because for them;
They are respectful, I am a displease.
They are humans, I am a disease.

I grew more effeminate,
I was mesmerized by jingling anklets.
My mother took me to saints,
the psychiatrist gave me drugs,
to make me what I should be.
None looked into my eyes,
to know what I wanted to be.
All my tears are still unnoticed;
all my words are still unheard.
Though I have a mouth;
I am not supposed to speak.
Because for them;
They are respectful, I am a displease.
They are humans, I am a disease.

I walked to different places,
far or near, to earn a living.
They allowed all men and women,
not a manly face with strong femininity.
They didn’t interview me;
they didn’t ask me questions.
Their words became vilification of me.
My existence became their only question.
Though I am productive just like them;
I am not supposed to work.
Because for them;
They are respectful, I am a displease.
They are humans, I am a disease.

Beneath the same sky,
on the same land,
leaving me with no option,
they make me sell my body.
My dance academy,
their brothel.
My fantasies,
their desperation.
Though I have a heart just like them;
I am not supposed to have a soul.
Because for them;
They are respectful, I am a displease.
They are humans, I am a disease.

Shamed by many,
nauseated by some.
My existence is ghastly and offensive,
to all of them, to God, to the universe.
They give me a name, “Hijaras”,
and they invite me,
at child’s birth, to marriages,
to bestow the blessings,
but my auspiciousness is still lost,
in their shallowness,
in their hurtful humors.
Though I was born the same way;
I am not supposed to live like them.
Because for them;
They are respectful, I am a displease.
They are humans, I am a disease.

Though I have feelings just like them,
Though I have a heart to love, just like them,
Though I am one of them,
I guess, I would never know,
why they still think;
They are respectful, I am a displease.
They are humans, I am a disease.

The situation here described is usually seen in South Asian countries. This poem is an effort by me to spread the message that the situation in which these people survive should offend us, instead of their existence. They are one of us, and they seek our support. The society never ceases to show its double standards (one para in the poetry describes that). It is time to stand up against the heartless crowd that never fails to demean them in any way. 

However, the situation in India is now improving with time and the acceptance. Transgenders have come out in large numbers to fight for their rights.

〉 Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender activist who, along with a legal agency, had petitioned the court about their identification as “transgenders” instead of either male or female, last year. Her efforts didn’t go in vain, and The Supreme Court directed the federal and state governments to include transgenders in all welfare programs for the poor, including education, health care and jobs to help them overcome social and economic challenges.

Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender activist.

〉 Madhu Bai Kinnar – an independent candidate – defeated her opponent by more than 4,500 votes and became the mayor of Raigarh, in the central state of Chhattisgarh on January 2015. Kinnar, who is 35, is a member of the lowly Dalit caste, once known as ‘untouchables’. Before her victory, she earned her living by performing; singing and dancing on Howrah to Mumbai trains. She only stopped when asked to represent her community, which reflects their confidence, willingness to make efforts, and the enthusiasm to be considered as human as we call ourselves. 

Madhu Bai Kinnar, a transgender woman and mayor of Raigarh.

There are more examples of these beautiful people who are not afraid to face the discrimination that the society throws at them. If each one of us starts speaking for them to all those who are displeased by them, I believe that their lives would become more meaningful.

-Kritika Vashist