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03 Feb 2023, Edition - 2761, Friday

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Are fake transgenders fleecing money from people?

Santosh Avvannavar


Women waving and extending hands for alms to make their daily living is a common sight at traffic signals, toll plazas and inside trains. Whether it is Bangalore or Delhi or Lucknow, for that matter.

A first-time encounter with a transgender may be petrifying.

We at Covai Post decided to have a conversation with few transgenders to find out if there are indeed fake ones out there, extorting money from people in the guise of the ostracised community.

Are all transgenders true to their choice? Or Is there a threat to their own community?

Ms. Priyanka first RJ transgender says, ‘If they do not respond the way they are expected to it, then they’re fake.’ She continues to explain, community have their own colloquial ways to converse and react. Fake ones who understand their limitations often escape or avoid the conversation. They would have worn a wig, look rough, use force to grab the penny and often misbehave with people.’

Shanthi Muniswamy, RJ and Mural artist, says, ‘Fake like situation exists in everything. It’s another side of the coin.’

Another transgender requesting anonymity says, ‘NALSA (National Legal Service Authority) judgement on 15 April, 2014 talks about a person who self-identifies and self-declares, no contingencies of medical diagnosis or any certification must be recognized.’

According to Shivanya, Human Right Activist, ‘Transgenders are males who experience a feminine identity. They are in feminine attires and adopt to the roles of feminine gender.’

Is there anything like true Transgender?

‘An actual transgender will have similar characteristics like that of a woman. One who does not force for alms. This could be a simple indicator to measure’, says Priyanka.

‘Deep rooted feeling to be woman is prominent among them’, says Shanthi.

‘I don’t believe in true or fake thing because choice is the truest expression of oneself,’ says another anonymous transgender .

Can colloquial help in identifying the truest expression of oneself?

‘There is no name to the language, however it’s close to Hindi and Urdu. For example, Pam Padati, to greet elderly member or any member in general in the community. It’s also our identity’, says Priyanka .

‘It is referred as Kothi language; however, it does not have a clear name. There is no script or book to learn this language. Elders in our community teach the language that begins learning to clap’, says Shanthi.

‘I don’t live with the transgender community and hence do not follow any structure. It was more of choice and did not like to confine to patriarchal structures. However, there is language known as Hijra Farsi. A study conducted by Dr. Muhammad Sheeraz on Hijra Farsi has estimated around ten thousand vocabulary system and it is pretty much complicated’, says an anonymous transgender.

‘It’s natural to have a language evolve wherever a community is formed’, says Shivanya

What is the motive to become a fake?

‘One undergoes counselling for one to three years before they have been medically certified as Third Gender. They are expected to be aware of law and consequences. Hence several don’t force or touch while they beg. However, there are incidents where fake people who have an intention of robbery’, says Priyanka.

‘This could be a short way of making money in disguise’, says Shivanya.

Are there any differences in the body language?

‘Definitely yes!’, says Priyanka. She further explains, ‘A transgender will be soft spoken but it may not hold true for fake ones. Fear is something that always looms over their faces. They have a fear of getting caught because they are not true to their choice.’

‘There cannot be formalization of identity to define real or fake. By doing so, another patriarchal structure will be created leading to oppression by who have on those who don’t have. For example, men who cook cannot be termed as women, isn’t it?’, says anonymous transgender.

‘Even if society stigmatizes us, our typical clap to others is a symbol of our recognition and existence’, says Shanthi.

Can people recognize the difference?

‘It’s difficult!’, says Priyanka

‘Initially it was difficult even for us. With several observations, we have started identifying the fake ones. For example, the authentic clap (gesture associated with transgenders) to learn that , it takes minimum between 7-10 days which is not possible by fake. However, to misuse people could go any extent’, says Shanthi.

If the community need to be protected, can a photo id help in minimizing the threat? What are other possibly solutions you suggest?

‘The choice is definitely at threat!’, says Priyanka.

‘This can be mitigated through having identified squad, who could be from the community. Solutions can be thought once the Rights of Transgender Persons Bill, 2014 is implemented successfully by all states’, says Shanthi.

‘As I mentioned earlier any form of identification like surgery are not right form of identification because it’s expensive and complex in nature. Freedom from patriarchal structures and amendment of NALSA judgement by state and central agencies is still distorted on addressing the challenges faced by the community,’ says anonymous transgender.

‘Having a law is great but that doesn’t itself solve. It’s others who have open up to accept choices one makes. Assume if parents accept their child, I feel half the problem is solved. If main stream society accept them on positions (job)the remaining half is solved. This is easier to say, difficult to put into practice,’ says Shivanya.

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