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I’ve Just Realised I’m Surrounded By Transphobes And Homophobes

By giving him a grammar book, I could have helped him in rectifying his mistakes. But what about the transphobia and homophobia that raised its ugly head that evening?

My fingers shake as I type this. The incident happened yesterday, just as I was going to hit the sack. As soon as I woke up this morning, I knew I had to share this.

So, without further ado, let me introduce the problem. For, it is indeed a problem.

I live in a highrise, inhabited by ‘affluent’ people. They own swanky cars, and swankier pets. As is the case with every housing society, the residents are divided over the ‘menace’ posed by the stray dogs, which are present in two digits. Some animal lovers feed the strays, the rest want them out. The battle continues.

Yesterday, a gentleman had posted a picture of an alleged misdeed committed by one of the dogs. The verdict is yet to be out, but the bickering began. The ‘anti-stray’ brigade wanted the gentleman to be ‘compensated’ by ‘pro-strays’. I laughed at the preposterousness of the statement. Why don’t you adopt them, if you love them so much? Why don’t you get them vaccinated at your expense? These are some examples of absurd counters that come often from the ‘anti-stray’ group. But I digress.

Amidst this brouhaha, a man typed this. I am representing this verbatim. So, brace yourselves.

“Who’s lovers come fwd n reply don’t keep mum means u r ejera I hope u understand no 9” [sic]

I underwent a myriad of emotions after reading this. I resisted the urge to correct his atrocious English. But would that have helped? By giving him a grammar book, I could have helped him in rectifying his mistakes. But what about the transphobia and homophobia that raised its ugly head that evening? He clearly hates stray dogs and thinks of them as a nuisance. But by equating dog lovers with ‘ejera’, he showed his utter lack of class. For those who are still in the dark, he meant ‘hijra’ or eunuchs. The ‘number 9’ is used in Chennai slang in contempt for hijras and transgender people. Google it.

We’ve all been there, but some of us tried to unlearn and re-learn to be better

Let me admit I am not a saint. During my growing up years, I was scared (yes, you read that right) of hijras. I have been guilty of laughing at jokes directed towards them. Having said that, the 80s were not exactly a conducive time for discussing such serious topics. It’s only in the past couple of years I learnt more about the LGBTQIA+ community. I was in the dark about non-binary people. Come on, I learnt much later about the pronouns. But I am learning. I know I have a long way to go.

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What transpired in that WhatsApp group was scary. The man clearly had nothing but contempt for hijras. By making that ‘below the belt’ remark, he thought it would be an insult to the ‘pro-stray’ group. However, he clearly revealed his transphobic side.

How can he show compassion towards animals, when this virtue is conspicuous by its absence for a certain section of humanity deemed as ‘snigger worthy’ by us cis men & women.

I could have kept mum. But my hands were itching to give that man a befitting reply. And reply I did. By pointing out that his ‘insult’ is actually to humanity, and not to the dog lovers.

As I type this, no apology has come forward. Other residents have ‘respectfully’ chastised the man for making this comment, and for, hold your breath, weakening ‘their case against stray dogs’. I am aghast. Truly shocked.

I have come out of the discussion. I am exhausted. I am appalled. I feel sick. I have nothing but disgust for these so-called human beings. I would rather direct my love and energy towards these ‘mute animals’. At least, they don’t have an agenda.

Image source: a still from the short film Juice

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About the Author

Narayani Manapadam

I am an IT professional, lost in the monotonous world of Excel. So, I seek refuge in Word, pun intended. I write for various literary platforms and have quite a few anthologies to my credit. read more...

42 Posts | 111,456 Views

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