While the transgender community still battles with the loopholes in the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act enacted in 2019, another initiative lead by Noida Metro Rail Corporation Ltd. falls heavily on the ‘apparent’ progressive attitude towards transgender community in India.
It is yet another example of misconception and stereotypes held against the community which adds to the hardships faced by them in social arena.
N.M.R.C. has taken an unconventional move to rename Noida Sector 50 Metro Station as ‘She Man’ and to also advance facilities and sensitisation for transgender communities in that particular station.
While the purpose of sensitisation and increasing the facilities to advance inclusion and meaningful participation of the members of the transgender community is a very good move, the particular aspect of naming of station in this move is highly problematic and rather contrary to the original motives of NMRC.
The term ‘She Man’ is transphobic on the face of it since it reinforces the gender based binaries and delegitimises the identity of gender non-confirming individuals. Oxford Dictionary defined She-Man as ‘a man who embodies characteristics conventionally considered to be feminine; an unmanly or effeminate man’.
Taking into consideration the mere definition of the term, it becomes clear that it is not inclusive at all for members of the transgender community which makes this act of naming a mockery for the move which NMRC is trying to advance.
There are numerous ways in which the members of transgender communities describe themselves and the usage of words and labels play a very crucial role in the formation of thinking process about identification of a particular person.
The usage of right labels encourages mutual respect and understanding. The same words and labels also not fit to everyone in the community in a blanket manner and sometimes a person is even unsure about how they wish to be identified.
At the same time, there are some outdated labels such as ‘Tranny’ which are highly offensive to be used and ‘She Man’ forms a part of that group and has been generally used for the purpose of mockery. The term was originated in early seventeenth century in times when awareness in general was far less as compared to present times.
It is extremely derogatory that a corporation promoting the most contemporary form of Public transport and operating from as recent as 26th January, 2019 is promoting a transphobic term within a move which is supposed to be trans-inclusive.
The name of a railway station although conventionally used as a way to direct oneself for transportation, yet any name carries a lasting impact on the mind of the listener about the different ideologies of the place and rampant change of names of cities, courts, states, railway stations etc.
Especially in recent times adds on to the fact that a name carries a lot of importance. In the present case, when the sole idea is to promote trans-inclusivity, better and more general names like ‘Pride’ can be more suited for the purpose.