A day before the screening of her YouTube series TransVision at Lamakaan, transgender activist Rachana Mudraboina shows us the photographs of Vani. “She was brutally attacked on the same night when another transgender person Gauri was killed. She is now being treated in NIMS,” she states adding that the myths, misconceptions and wrong information about transgenders have inspired her to make TransVision.
The series in Telugu, Kannada and Urdu was launched a few months ago. “People often make fun of trans people and a lot of misinformation is relayed on the social media,” she says citing a YouTube channel which said that transgenders are born due to hormonal imbalances between men and women and when they mate in the afternoon! Rachana says “Genetic disorders and astrological concepts are also attributed. When this kind of wrong information is read by many, I thought of launching a channel which gives the right info about trans people.” The narrative has hosts speaking about various issues. If the first episode was: ‘Who is a transgender’, the second episode dealt with questions one should not ask a transgender. “We have spoken about the not-to-ask questions. Sometimes people ask us, ‘Why are trans people born like this?’, ‘What is your real name’, ‘Did you get a surgery done’ or ‘From when you have become like this.’ We also give reasons why one should not ask these kind of questions.”
For vernacular users
While the series is conceived, written and directed by Rachana, the hosts are Anjali (Telugu), Jahnavi (Kannada) and Sonia (Urdu). “This awareness is mainly for the vernacular users, who do not get the right information. People in villages can also access this with their smartphones. Thiswill help society in building a perception. This lack of perception results in discrimination and stigma in society, which enhances crime and violence towards trans people,” she adds stating how people mock transgenders because of their clapping. “Clapping is a form of expression for transgenders. Whether they are happy or angry they clap. It is also a form of identity.”
Money has been one of the challenges for Rachana. “We have to pool in money and also spare time for the shooting. This eats into our working time,” she adds and recalls how one of the episodes was used in Karnataka for a gender sensitisation and gender-based violence programme.
The reason for the film screening at Lamakaan is to introduce the online series to people and facilitate an interaction with the participants. She says the road to discrimination is a long one. “The state has to change policies, only then can there be any change.” As for herself, she has learnt to ignore the snide comments and teasing. “I mind my own business but if the teasing exceeds limits and they get physical, I get ferocious.”
Rachana plans to have an episode every week in the three languages and also launch the series in Tamil and Malayalam soon.