Sunday, December 10, 2023

Even without 377, there are struggles ahead; says Revathi

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A. Revathi is one of the leading figures in the transgender and queer movement of India. She is a hijra trans woman, activist and performing artist who has written widely about the struggles of the hijra community and other marginalised people. Her major works include her autobiography Truth About Me, Unarvum Uruvamum and My Life in Trans Activism which is written in Tamil and has been translated into many languages. A. Revathi responds towards today’s landmark ruling on Homosexuality. “Finally, we got justice, section 377 is gone. But? A huge sigh from me. For 25 years, since I came to know, how the trauma I had to endure by 377, physically, emotionally, in my dreams and reality… It was a space in which I had to carry forward struggles and legal challenges in supporting those who were victimised by sacrificing my emotions and enduring the humiliations. Those were the times, despite humiliations, I mobilize sexual minorities in public spaces like public toilets, bus stands, and bars because awareness was little and social media was non-existent. To make those who were hesitant about coming out, to struggle in open spaces and create them as leaders is not an easy task. I feel that today is the day that has quenched that thirst. It is a victory for all those timeless struggles I’ve taken to prevent people from being sexually abused like I was… For a train to run, it requires the immense labor of all those who are laying the tracks. I share this judgment for all those who have laid the track and all those who are traveling in the train. Nevertheless, I always knew that it will not benefit people like me who are begging on the streets and sex workers. Despite there have been numerous acts aiding inter-caste marriages, the abolition of dowry children welfare, family welfare, education, and job opportunities, we’re still being policed on our food, dress, consumption, writing, expressing choices, by the society, government and its machinery… Murders, rapes, thefts, false charges, shootouts and lots of other problems will not allow us to celebrate for 377 tomorrow. We all know who is going to benefit out of it. For me, the basic needs are education, job, family recognition, property rights. Even love, marriage, sex rights follow only after that. I fear that if one can attain all other rights with sex rights. This is the fear of my community as well. Nevertheless, like this victory which has been attained by a struggle, I am certain that lots of struggles and sacrifices will continue to attain other rights and celebrations.” Translation: Iniyavan Bhanaumathi
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