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  • Gender Denied: India’s Transgender Community

    AS CHILDREN, we were scared of them. At traffic signals or on local trains, they would stroll up, their gait nonchalant, voices raised. Above all, different. (What is it about us that fears difference so much?) Last month, while on a project visit to slums in Chennai, I felt a twinge of discomfort when I stepped into Mallika’s house in Saidapet. It was not the old fear but something else. I was there to ask uncomfortable questions. I had nothing to give her in return. And I was burdened by the weight of belonging to societies that had rejected her. For Mallika is not quite accepted as a woman even though she considers herself one. In India, the gender gods can be very strict. Continue reading