Making a song and trans
Members of the transgender community have planned a 5-minute flash mob to raise awareness about inclusiveness
THE transgender community wants to spread the message of inclusivity, and what better way to do that than spontaneously bursting into song and dance? After all, who doesn’t love a flash mob? To that end, sometime next month, the country’s firstever transgender flash mob will perform a five-minute dance routine to raise awareness about the need for the transgender community’s ‘inclusion’ into the mainstream.
“Though the Supreme Court has passed a judgment in our favour, society has still not accepted us. People think we have dropped from the sky and are hesitant in accepting us completely. When they see us, they see ‘hijras’, not a human being capable of love. Flash mobs are usually planned by college students, so our hope is that when we partake in it, it might strike a chord,” said Urmi Jadhav, who works as a research assistant at the Humsafar Trust and is part of the famous Dancing Queen group.
However, worry not if you are not there to witness the mob live in action. The founders of YouTube channel Foxbula will upload the video on their portal and proceeds from the same will be given to the Humsafar Trust.
“There are about 20,000 transgenders in the city, of which around 80 per cent are involved in sex work and around 20 per cent have HIV. Why is this happening? It’s because people are unaware. There is an urgent need to be more welcoming and inclusive of the transgender community,” said Sahil Chatwani, a producer from Foxbula.
Explaining the discrimination faced by the community, Jadhav said, “Though people offer jobs, we are unable to take them. Even Mumbai University said it would be open to giving us admissions, but they too need documents that we don’t have. Where exactly do we go?”
Through the project, the community hopes to raise funds for various initiatives that Humsafar Trust supports. “There is a travel agency that helps transgenders learn driving, helping them merge into the mainstream. We also have people suffering from HIV under the project ‘Sanjeevani’. The proceeds will be used to support them,” said Koninika Roy, of the Humsafar Trust.
Jay Vyas, a South Mumbai resident and student of the Nirmala Niketan College is, however, skeptical of what the community might achieve. “South Mumbai will attract a lot of people, sure, but that’s that. If you ask people, they say ‘Yes, very nice, they should also get rights,’ but don’t expect changed hearts. You ask the rickshaw wala, he will also say the politically correct thing for TV and papers, but it is how they react when they are alone with a transgender that reveals the real story,” he says.
Arushi Dutt, resident of Vile Parle, and a media professional added, “It would be interesting, but it also depends on which part of Mumbai they are doing it in. In South Mumbai, people will be open-minded, but I don’t know if they will be willing to roll down the glasses of their expensive SUVs. On the other hand, I feel people in the suburbs will be more warm and receptive.”
The proceeds from the live and online collection will benefit Humsafar Trust