Jallikattu Actor Accused of Transphobia, Trans-Persons Oppose Clubhouse 'Rant'

Sabumon who acted in Jallikattu, India's official Oscar entry, is accused of having passed transphobic comments.

3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Sabumon Abdusamad is accused of transphobia.&nbsp;</p></div>

Malayalam actor Sabumon Abdusamad, who had acted in the film Jallikattu which was India's official entry for Oscars in 2021, is now accused of hosting a transphobic discussion on Clubhouse.

The actor, who is also Malayalam Big Boss (Season 1) winner, allegedly created a group in Clubhouse at around 9.30 pm on Friday, 9 July titled ‘Are transwomen really women?’

The room had around 300 listeners including 15 trans-persons and several women.

Outraged by Abdusamad's 'transphobic' comments, a section of transgender community in Kerala may soon file a legal complaint against him.


'Transwoman Not Women, No XY Chromosome'

Transgender activist Sheetal Shyam, who is also a board member of the Kerala's transgender justice committee, was also a part of the group.

A resident of Kochi, Sheetal has been actively advocating for rights of transgender persons.

"While a discussion was on in the group, Sabumon began degrading transwomen saying they cannot be called women as they do not have ‘XY’ chromosome."
Sheetal Shyam, Transwoman and Activist
<div class="paragraphs"><p>(Photo: Accessed by the Quint)</p></div>

(Photo: Accessed by the Quint)

Screen shot of Sabumon's group on Clubhouse

Later, she says, a man in the group began using the term trans-dysphoria. And actor Sabumon, who was the moderator of the group encouraged him to speak.

"Trans-dysphoria should not be used as a term because shows us in bad light. It can only be called gender fear or gender crisis."
Sheetal Shyam, Transwoman and Activist

Shyam says, trans-women even asked Abdusamad to change the group title, as it was “insensitive” to trans-persons who identify themselves as women.

“But Sabumon and others continued to denigrate us. When we opposed he asked us to leave the group. In fact, he said, he will do whatever he wants as he has created the group.”

'Called Transwomen Shikhandi'

To provoke the trans-community, Abdusamad created another group at around 11 pm the same night, titled ‘Shikandi ennu villikunnadhu kuttam ano?’ (Is it wrong to call transpersons Shikandi?)” which had over 1,000 listeners, Shyam alleged.

<div class="paragraphs"><p>(Photo: Accessed by the Quint)</p></div>

(Photo: Accessed by the Quint)

Screen shot of Sabumon's group on Clubhouse

“Drawn to the title, many people were instantly joining it,” Shyam said.

Shikandi is a term which indicates that trans-persons are neither male not female. “Speaking in the group, many people also began discussing if trans-persons can be called ‘bhinnalingam’ (other gender) or ‘moonamlingam' (third gender)," Shyam said.

A celebrity, Sabumon Abdusamad, should not have discriminated trans-persons on a social media platform, Shyam rued.

"At a time when we are constantly striving for equality in the society, people like him doing such activities is highly demoralising. We are strongly opposed to it as it is transphobic.”

<div class="paragraphs"><p>(Photo: Accessed by the Quint)</p></div>

(Photo: Accessed by the Quint)

Screen shot of Sabumon's group on Clubhouse


'Emergence of Toxic Masculine Culture In Kerala's Clubhouse'

Shyam said that a section of men have been promoting rape culture and toxic masculinity on Clubhouse. "They speak ill of women, transgender persons, queers and feminism," she said.

“They keep reiterating that feminists have cancer and queers have a disease that can be cured.”

Sheetal says that she and other transgender activists have been joining such groups to argue and prove the hosts wrong. Abdusamad's group was one such.

Now, Sheetal and other transpersons, who were witness to 9 July incidents, are in the process of filing a legal complaint against the actor.

"We are soon going to file a complaint to social justice minister. Similar to Trans-persons Protection Act, we have a section that provides two years imprisonment for people who discriminate trans-persons on social media. We are also thinking about filing a police complaint."
Sheetal Shyam, Transwoman and Activist

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