International Transgender Day of Visibility that is held on March 31 is celebrated every year to celebrate transgender individuals’ contributions to society.
Transgenders have been an integral part of society since the story of human life has been recorded. The trans community is a predominant part of cultures. There has been a positive movement for the LGBTQ+ community in recent years. But many transgenders still feel that there is a lot more to do in the fight for equality. Awareness of trans issues is the need of the hour.
According to an independent study, around 92 percent of transgenders have been deprived of the right to participate in any form of economic activity in India. The Transgender Person (Protection of Rights) Bill was passed by the Indian Parliament on November 26, 2019. The bill protects transgender interests by prohibiting discrimination in employment opportunities.
Discrimination faced by the Trans community
International Transgender Day of Visibility is celebrated to help remove the stigma that inflicts incredible harm on the lives of LGBTQ+ individuals across the globe. Unfortunately, trans people are still seen as a threat to cultural values by some people. Trans individuals still find it difficult to find a place in society. They are subjected to abuse, violence, and abandonment due to rigid notions about heteronormativity. Heteronormativity is the belief that heterosexuality is the default mode of sexual orientation and any other kind of relationship is unacceptable in society.
Discrimination against trans people is not only restricted to the LGBTQ+ community, but also now a global issue. Many transgender activists around the world are fighting hard for their communities. However, it requires active engagement from every individual in society.
A transgender activist leading the fight for LGBTQ+ equality
One of the most courageous, inspiring friends of mine, Vidya Rajput is a transgender activist who is breaking barriers and has proven her mettle in her field. She is one of the most influential transgender activists in the country. Her contributions to the LGBTQ+ people have led her community to a remarkable transformation across India. She is an active member of the ‘third gender welfare board’ in Chhattisgarh, India. Since 2009, Vidya has been running an organization named as ‘Mitwa organization’ that works for the transgender people in India. Currently, she is working as a trainer for the administration and police academy in Raipur. Along with this, she has also been actively associated with the police department to recruit transgender police officers in the force.
In 2020, Vidya collaborated with the sports ministry of India for the inclusion of transgender youths in the Khelo India Games. In recent years, Vidya has persuaded government officials from Chattisgarh to include sections about the LGBTQ+ community in the textbook and donate 190 apartments to transgender people of Raipur.
Growing up as a transgender in India, Vidya had endured decades of mental and physical abuse. But that did not deter Vidya’s spirit; she continued to work hard for her community.
While giving a message to everyone she said, “Self-love is important. I want every person in my community to love and accept themselves. Though there has been a sense of awareness among people, still society does not have much knowledge about our community. That is why I urge everyone to be aware of gender diversity, gender expression. More and more people need to learn about the trans community. People will have a hard time accepting us until they have good knowledge about our community. We have the right to live just like everyone else...I want people to accept this and accept us as their own.”
We now need to be more inclusive of transgenders in our society by treating them equally. People must know that at the end of the day, they are human beings, just like us. They have a heart filled with feelings, a soul, and a mind of their own, just like we do. So, next time when you see a person from the trans community, instead of passing comments or slurs, just try giving them a big smile. It does not take much to be kind and compassionate. Trust me, you will never regret being kind.