This guest post was sent to us by SATYA RAI NAGPAUL, Transman, Cinematographer, Founder Member: SAMPOORNA: A Network for Asian & Diasporic Asian Trans Persons.
‘Tatte Girao, Hijra Hattao’ was written in response to Farrukh Dhondy’s article ‘The male eunuch & other chromosomes’ in The Asian Age newspaper, August 29th, 2009. The Asian Age did not publish Satya’s response, and so it has been circulating on relevant e-lists for a while.
Caster Semenya’s record breaking run in the Berlin World Athletic Games this August, not only raised doubts in the organisers about her ‘real sex”, but back home, has precipitated our very own Mr Farrukh Dhondy’s jounalistic activism to save our boys from falling into any possible sexual/gender ambiguity.
His prescription: Get ‘the apparatus’ and you shall be a ‘man’!
If the medical and legal communities were not enough, we have now to fight our so called “progressive” journalists who write columns about ‘so called eunuchs’, who their medical friends tell them ‘were not eunuchs at all’.
The transphobia, gender essentialism and high moral ground in Mr Dhondy’s article couldn’t have been more naked. What appears throughout the article as his well meaning and sympathetic concern, finally reveals its true face in that last draconian sentence: ‘Make hijras history’. How could the corporeal realities of the hijra be so lost on a journalist [and one who is himself a minority, being a parsi, as stated in his article] that he can wish for the wiping out of an entire way of life? Instead of espousing their human rights, he wishes them not to exist at all?!
Mr Dhondy’s statement that all hijras suffer from Cryptorchidism, and that it is a simple medical procedure that will make men out of them, not only reveals his journalistic smugness but also that he has been completely absent from all discourses on sex/gender emerging ever since the years of the second world war. The binary conceptualisation of sex/gender is long dead in cutting edge academia and even the medical sciences have begun to open out their sex/gender categories to the new conceptualisations.
Crytorchidism could become an opportunity for the person & the family to revisit & reimagine the category sex, but what Mr Dhondy recommends is a reinforceing of the binaries of male & female. The old guard of medical practitioners tell us who we are and who we should become and our journalists, having completely bought into this medicalisation of sex, carry further these prescriptions in their columns. But of course all this mess about ‘categories’, whether athletic or otherwise, appears to Mr Dhondy, as one ‘dilemma’ and of course it ‘bores him’.
This intellectual apathy and gender puritanism pushes the already difficult lives of hijras and all those who lie outside the binary of male and female, further into the margins and into the closets.
We have also learnt, haven’t we, that Mr Dhondy never uses his ‘own being as ironic instrument to raise the price of [his] own meal’ ? Only, he is not telling us he won’t be found at the traffic lights; he has more sophisticated junctures to sell his stuff at.
Since Mr Dhondy, on his own admission, has already lived a long time without finding out the ‘precise’ difference between sex and gender, he could do three if not more things: refrain from putting pen to paper on something he does not know about, and then, not sit next to an idiot box and blame it for telling him what to think! And if ‘Diwan Hijro’ still visits his dreams, that brilliant mathematics teacher will also tell him that 2+2 does not make 4 in most other subjects.
‘[A] very brief sojourn in the changing room would [not] settle the matter’.
A brief sojourn into the life of a hijra may.
5th September, 2009