‘She Man’ A Slur: Trans People Oppose Noida Metro Station’s Name
Members of the community call the decision to rename the station ‘She Man’ as ‘transphobic’ and ‘ignorant.’
In a move to ‘promote transgender rights’, the Noida Metro Rail Corporation recently announced that it will rename the Sector 50 station on Aqua Line as ‘She Man’.
However, members of the transgender community in the Delhi-NCR region are demanding that the metro corporation withdraw its decision, terming the name “transphobic” and “insensitive”.
Speaking to The Quint, Dr Aqsa Shaikh, who identifies herself as a trans woman, said that the decision to rename a metro station ‘She Man’ was “derogatory” for the community.
“The term ‘She Man’ is derogatory. It means someone who is a mixture of male and female, as if half-male and half-female, and goes against the spirit of how transgender persons wish to define themselves.”Dr Aqsa Shaikh, Community Medicine Specialist
She added that terms like ‘She Male’, ‘She Man’ or ‘Lady Boy’ were actually used as slurs against the members of the community and “a simple google search would tell anyone this”.
“The term Thirunangai (man and woman), which was once accepted by the community in south India, was withdrawn in 2019. The Hindi translation uses the word ‘Ubhaylingi’ which may be suitable for intersex persons but definitely not for the entire transgender community.”Dr Aqsa Shaikh, Community Medicine Specialist
What Is The Purpose Of Renaming The Station?
Noida Metro officials, speaking to The Indian Express, said that staff at the station will be sensitised and trained with regard to “issues concerning the community.”
“As per Census 2011, there are 4.9 lakh transgenders in India out of which 30,000-35,000 stay in NCR. The move will be an important step in providing meaningful inclusion and participation of the transgender community. The naming of the station will raise awareness and sensitivity,” said Ritu Maheshwari, MD NMRC, in a statement.
When asked about the name, the official reportedly said that it said that the term ‘She Man’ was suggested by Board of Directors and various other stakeholders, including NGOs who work in the field.
‘Demand Withdrawal Of Decision’
Prominent trans rights activist Rudrani Chhetri said that the decision to rename the metro station showed “no respect” towards the transgender community and urged the authorities to rethink their decision.
“As a trans woman, I am so angry. I am not sure which stakeholders were consulted but anyone with a basic knowledge of sex, gender and sexuality, would have advised against this. I would never want to be addressed with pronouns associated with a man. These decisions can have impact on people who are actually not aware. They will think this is the right way to address people from the community,” she told The Quint.
Other members of the community like Dr Bittu, Associate Professor of Biology and Psychology at Ashoka University and a queer activist, point out that the ‘initiative’ is nothing but ‘token inclusivity.’
“It is one of many initiatives done in the name of the transgender community without actually listening to trans persons and prioritising understanding over performative inclusivity. Noida metro station should not just change this name but should do something real for inclusivity such as hire transgender persons in the metro system, especially given that at this time with the lockdown most transgender persons are dealing with a complete absence of livelihood options.”Dr Bittu, Associate Professor, Ashoka University
Queer Feminist Resource Group ‘Nazariya’ has written to the Noida Metro Corporation suggesting names like ‘Rainbow Station’ and ‘Travel With Pride’.
“So whatever their intention is with regard to working with the community, the naming of the station as a 'she-man' station to promote transgender persons' rights, is not acceptable. Whenever we want to work any community which is marginalised, it is important to know the correct terminologies and facts,” the group said, in a statement.
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