The highly-anticipated Kochi Metro Rail has been in the news for all the right reasons. The metro service, which was flagged off on 19th June, 2017, was inaugurated by our Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and other senior leaders.
The Kochi Metro Rail has recruited a large number of women in its task force. And in what seems to be a pioneering move have employed 23 transgenders, which is the maximum number among state owned companies. These trans people have been placed in the housekeeping and customer care departments.
Kochi Metro released a video advertisement earlier this week, introducing a few transgenders from their staff. This viral video had a very powerful statement to make. It took the prejudices and biases of society with respect to trans people head on. It shows them working in their uniforms, as very normal people. They urge the visitors of Kochi Metro not to look at them twice, but to advance respect and acceptance, and to see them as any other ‘normal’ employee.
This move deserves a great deal of applause and commendation, but also requires widespread emulation. The fear and stigma surrounding members of the trans community must be eradicated by increasing inclusivity in our public spheres. If only we get a chance to mingle with these people, have personal contact and interaction with them, can we begin to destroy our preconceptions about them.
Feminism, though there exist many versions of it, more or less seeks to bring about equality of the two genders- male and female- in the society. But feminist movements across the world need to include and support the queer community in this fight for equality. Our society is still stuck in the concept of gender binarism and therefore presumes that there are only two genders. The majority of our population remains unaware that gender identities exist in a spectrum whose polar ends are male and female, that there exist many possible combinations in between the two, and that identifying with any of them is perfectly healthy and normal. This ignorance leads to cementing of prejudices among the people, wherein people start using terms like ‘natural’ and ‘unnatural’ in discussions pertaining to the LGBTQ+ community. This in turn leads to ostracism of the people who belong to the queer community when they do not conform to the social norms.
Feminism, by keeping to only the two majority genders, remains a one-dimensional movement. It must fight for inclusivity and sensitivity towards all genders, rather than only two.
By Halak Pandya.
Halak is an undergraduate student pursuing literature. She aspires to be a writer. Halak also holds a Master Diploma in Bharatnatyam and a Black belt in Taekwondo. She describes herself as a luftmensch.