The current struggle with violence was almost reminiscent of how things were a couple of decades ago.

TV news show made our lives worse Karnatakas transgender people allege
news Protest Friday, October 21, 2016 - 21:09

Under the unexpectedly warm winter sun, hundreds of transgender persons in Bengaluru sat in protest outside Town Hall, demanding that the government help put an end to their struggle for dignity. They alleged that their lives had been made worse by a recent TV programme.

During a protest in Bengaluru, many transgender people alleged that their lives had become more difficult in the last four weeks following a sting operation.

On September 25, a regional Kannada news channel telecast a sting operation on the Dayamma Nirvana, a traditional castration process followed by the transgender community.

The channel alleged that a group of transgender people had castrated a minor boy against his will. The content of the show, although not graphic, sensationalized the description of the process of Dayamma Nirvana. The transgender community alleges that they were demonized in the show.

Sumangali, who works as a theatre artist when she is not going out for ‘collection’, said she took some time off from her rehearsals to participate in the protest. (Within the transgender community, the collection of money is a debated subject.)

“I haven’t been able to go for collection for the last two weeks. When my friends and I went to shops to collect money on September 26, some of them came to assault us. They verbally abused us until we left,” she said.

Sumangali says that although they face abuse on an everyday basis, the situation in the wake of the TV show worsened things for them. The current struggle with violence was almost reminiscent of how things were a couple of decades ago, she says.

A friend of Sumangali’s was allegedly assaulted by people attending a wedding in Hebbal, where they had gone to bless the newly married couple.

The transwomen would only say: “I don’t want to speak to the media because I am afraid my views and statements would be twisted.”

Anushree, a male to female transgender, who was welcomed to into her family only 7 years ago, has once more been ostracized.

“Years of struggle to get my parents to accept me has gone waste. If the TV9 show has affected my parents who have seen the transformation in me, I am not surprised that people outside have turned sceptical,” Anushree says.

“My mother thinks that I was also brainwashed into going through the sex re-alignment surgery. She refuses to speak to me and my father tells me to come back home only if I change to a man!” she said.

One of the persons who was directly affected by the programme was Riyana, a transgender student at St. Joseph’s College.

She alleged that her parents were taken to the TV9 studio. With their faces party covered, they were made to speak about her.

“My photographs and name were used without my permission. When I went to their office to question them, the staff and the security guard pushed me away. My parents were coerced to say that I was forced into a sex re-alignment surgery by Anandi. I underwent SRS willingly and was not brainwashed. In fact, I don’t even know who Anandi is. I am happy with my life as a Mangalamukhi unlike the boy I was born as,” she said.

Riyana says that people who recognize her have started to tease her, forcing her to shun company.

“Some people ask me to stay away from them. They say that they are afraid that I would brainwash them to or force them into a surgery,” she said.


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