Yes, yet another politician, a person in power, a person who is the leader and Prime Minister of a great nation – made an anti-trans remark.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak commented “Patients should know when hospitals are talking about men or women, and we shouldn’t get bullied into believing that people can be any sex they want to be. They can’t. A man is a man, and a woman is a woman; that’s common sense”. This comment was made while he was addressing the 2023 Conservative Party Conference.
PM Rishi Sunak has been called out and has faced backlash from the netizens after this comment. Still, this instance just goes ahead and shows how the transgender community, even after gaining a place in gender discourse remains stigmatized and seen as deserving of discrimination.
Transgenderism, the experience of individuals whose gender identity does not align with the sex assigned at birth, i.e., transgender, has gained significant visibility and recognition in recent years. Despite growing acceptance and legal protections for transgender individuals, there are still numerous challenges they face.
The fact that they are still very much looked down upon, especially by the people in power, people with privilege, it almost feels as if no progress at all, has been made for the transgender community. They go through struggles in wide aspects of life.
Cis-het individuals, both men and women, cannot understand how it feels for people belonging to the transgender community to go through all the negligence that they encounter as a part of their daily lives. The invisibility of identity is a major setback that people of this community go through.
The Continued Saga of Struggle
There are a great number of issues and discrimination that transgender people go through. These range across a lot of fields from education to healthcare, academia to the entertainment industry.
Transgender people have to fight for their acceptance in society. They go through subtle as well as very vocal dismissals from not only the general public but also the public institutions of the state. They have to fight to be heard. Their representation has been very minimal in all sorts of leadership roles. Discriminationnever-endingding
Be it the corporate world or the academic fields, they are not seen as belonging to these spaces. Even in the entertainment industry, whatever minimum representation that they have, it is characterized by the stereotypes in society. They are reduced to mere comic elements in the pop culture.
Transgender people have no acceptance in very sophisticated professional fields like law, justice, defence and security. All of this just goes to show that even though these people have become a part of the larger gender discourse compromising of women under feminism, they still very much have to fight for the acceptance and respect they deserve by being humans
The Way Forward
If we realistically look at it, there some several ways and things that can be pursued but the foremost remains the mere acknowledgement, acceptance and respect that transgender people deserve.
However, beyond that, steps that can be taken include education and awareness, legal protections, access to healthcare, mental health support and inclusive language among other things.
Awareness that these gender identities are also very much real needs to be provided to people from the very start. Education needs to be inclusive in such matters. They face discrimination in the healthcare sector which is non-negotiable for human beings.
Due to the constant hatred and scepticism they go through, they are more prone to mental health issues and hence, the mental health discourse needs to be more sensitive to them in the sense that it needs to be accessible to them.
And most importantly, they need legal acknowledgement, rights and protection. There are many countries where they have no presence in the legal system only because they don’t subscribe to the traditional gender binary. This needs to be changed.
We saw how the transgender community faces discrimination daily with so much intensity. The comment by UK PM Rishi Sunak is nothing but the portrayal of the place is privilege these people come from and how they don’t see any requirement of being accepting of the transgender community, let alone respectful.
If we have to make this world a better place, we all must learn to live in harmony with each other and for that to happen, all of us must respect each other and each other’s choices.