9/16: Aher, A Journey of Pain and Beauty

Discuss one way in which this article (interview, rather) either complicates or adds to your understanding of one of our other readings. (Think of it like you’re using it as a source in a paper!)

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17 Responses to 9/16: Aher, A Journey of Pain and Beauty

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  2. The article “A Journey of Pain and Beauty: On Becoming Transgender in India” adds on to my understanding of Geena Rocero’s TED talk “Why I Must Come Out”. Rocero speaks about being yourself despite the societies view on who you are, “some people have the courage to break free, not to accept the limitations imposed by…the beliefs of those that surround them” (Rocero 1). The story the article tells is a great example of how in other parts of the world changing your sex can be difficult and complicated. Abhina Aher is one of many other people who are transgender but the procedure she had to take to changer her sex was dangerous since it’s looked down upon in India, however, she still went through the procedure to be true to herself. Being true to yourself is another point Rocero makes. This helps me understand that it is society who tries to stop us from being our true self by regulating laws and having penalties if the laws are broken. Tradition also limits us to being who we are as seen in the article, Aher’s teacher and even mom would punish her if she acted in a feminine way. Unlike Rocero’s story, Aher’s story is tragic but both go against what society deems the norm to be true to their selfs and both stories are inspiring. Rocero states “the transgender movement, is at the very beginning, to compare how the gay movement started” (Rocero 2) this is seen through the form that transgenders are starting to go against the laws in India.

  3. Victoria Christine says:

    This interview bolstered my understanding of Morris’ article “All Made Up.” It is a clear example of the argument that the qualifications of sex and gender is something that a society, a group of people create and therefore can change. This is seen in the introduction to the interview, when it is stated, “There was a landmark ruling in India this week on sexual identity. The country’s supreme court declared that India’s transgender population shall be considered neither male nor female but a third gender. The sweeping decision redefines the rights of and the state’s obligations to one of India’s most marginalized groups.” (McCarthy, 1) The key word is redefines. The country of India acknowledged that the transgendered population are having issues and therefore to accommodate those issues, the court decided to legally allot a space for them in society. Julie McCarthy’s interview with Abhina Aher elucidates Morris’ idea in “All Made Up” with a relevant, modern day example of how a society can change it’s views of a certain group of people.

  4. Aher’s article not only adds to my understanding of “Why I Must Come Out” but it grabs my attention. Before this I was mostly just focused on the gender question in North America. Now I know that it is a change that is happening all around the world. This article “A Journey of Pain and Beauty” shows a much darker and ,what I feel, a more realistic struggle for the transgender community across the world. Her mother did not approve and the society she lived in not only hated the thought of being transgender but abused (and did not attempt to stop the abuse) her (Aher 1). Not nearly the hardship that Morris had to go through, although hers was not easy either.

  5. Humza says:

    Abhina Aher’s story “A Journey of Pain and Beauty” adds to my understanding of Geena Rocero’s “Why I Must Come Out” TED Talk. Rocero, like Aher, was born a boy but had always felt she was a girl. But unlike Rocero who had an accepting family that understood her choice, Aher’s mother didn’t support her. Aher was brought up being told what she wanted was wrong. Growing up Aher was tormented and physically abused by older males, who didn’t get reprimanded but praised for bullying Aher. While Rocero’s family accepted and supported her, Aher’s tried to get her “back to what she should be” (McCarthy, p2). Aher’s mother had her take two tylenol and sit in a dark room, which was prescribed by a psychiatrist. Her mother also took her to many temples to make her what her mother thought she should be. While Rocero had her parents pay for her surgery and had her parents to help her through her life, Aher had to resort to prostitution to pay for an illegal and painful surgery that leaves her castrated and has a relatively high chance of death and HIV. Both women were very similar to start with but being born to different kinds of families and cultures one had a more supportive upbringing while the other had to struggle and fight.

  6. leroy mcleod says:

    “A Journey of Pain and Beauty: On Becoming….” and interview by Julie McCarthy speaks of a recent decision in India to include transgenders as a separate gender. India being a very conservative country according to McCarthy (McCarthy, 4) means that this decision by the India supreme court is one that means a lot. Aher describes it as “putting a foot through a door of hope.”

    This is most similar to what Rocero describes in “Why I Must Come Out” because although Rocero herself had the support system she needed, she often describes the lack of support for other transgenders trying to come out to the world. (Rocero, ). This is a prime example of a transgender person needing that support. Rocero talked about the scuicide rate in the transgender community being high. I never really know how true that was until after I read the article. AHER did not only try once but two more times after this. This is extreme for a teenager. Life in India as a transgender must be extremely hard as compared to life in the United states where perhaps it may be a little bit easier to fit in.

  7. Erica Arce says:

    “A Journey of Pain & Beauty: On Becoming Transgender in India” gives a new perspective on the topic of gender. When Julie McCarthy interviews Abhina Aher, it is revealed even further how difficult life has been or is on transgenders. Watching Geena Rocero, we learn about the life of a model who was able to identify herself freely and with the support of her family. While for a long time India’s transgenders suffered and were charged with criminal offenses. This interview see,s to add to my understanding of the other readings by displaying the negative effects or difficulties that Rocero could have faced. Alice Dreger, would likely be interested in a case like Aher’s, because of the different experiences and body changes she had to go through to become who she is now. The authors of the readings would probably offer a support system for those who go through similar struggles, knowing that many exist.

  8. After reading “A Journey Of Pain And Beauty : On Becoming Transgender in India” this article added to my understanding of one of the prior discussions, “Why I Must Come Out” Geena Rocero’s TED talk. Abhina Aher’s struggles as a transgender or Hijra in India. This shows an example of what Geena spoke of , how the transgender “suicide rate is nine times higher than that of the general population.” (Rocero, 6:40) Abhina tried to commit suicide multiple times “first by slitting a vein, then trying to walk into the sea, and then trying to jump off a cliff.” (McCarthy,page 2), after reading this Ms. Rocero’s statement made me understand more distinctly what transgenders go through. At other points I found I could reference Geena’s talk such as, when Aher’s mother was not accepting of her choice and how Rocero learned to come around. Rocero’s article told of how she had a privileged story in a way compared to others and Abina, who “became a sex worker to pay in part for her transformation” (npr,page 3). Many Hijras are infected with HIV and there is a high risk of death when doing a reassignment surgery in India. The reading of this article and Ms. Rocero’s added to my understanding on the matter showing another view and the obstacles a transgender must face in places other than America.

  9. The interview “A Journey of Pain and Beauty” with Abhina Aher would describe the journey of a person who was born male but had felt she was a female from an early age. This experience would be similar to that of Geena Rocero which she describes in her Ted Talk “Why I must come out?” They were both assigned to the male gender at birth and would later become a female. However, Abhina Aher’s would be forced by her family to conform to the male gender for a number of years before she was able to become female and join the transgender community of people known as Hijras. This contrasts the reaction of Geena Rocero’s family whom accepted her decision to change her gender rather than forcing her to live as a male. Abhina Aher would have no support in her gender transformation and would resort to a dangerous illegal surgery to become female and would be left in immense pain. Hijras themselves usually face a low social status and “resort to selling sex to survive. They have long been discriminated against in jobs, housing, health care, and education.” (J. McCarthy. 4.) This grants hardship to anyone who would make the decision to become another gender in India. This adds to my understanding from Geena Rocero’s speech that many people who become another gender may still face scrutiny from family and even society. There are those who are lucky enough to have a support system similar to that of Geena Rocero but, many may still have to face the harsh reality of contempt that Abhina Aher and many Hijras still face.

  10. Kailey White says:

    After reading and listening to and reading “A Journey Of Pain And BEAUTY: On Becoming Transgender in India” by Julie Mcarthy, there are definite connections to Rocero’s speech “Why I Must Come Out”. Additionaly, this speech adds to my understanding of Rocero’s speech. For example, Rocero stressed the fact about suicide rates in the transgender community and how it supersedes the normal suicide rate in her speech. Abhina Aher had a personal account of attempting suicide three times because of her discrimination. The world is undoubtedly an unfair place but it is unacceptable to shun and discriminate against these people so much that they are driven to attempt to take their own lives. “I could not die,” Aher says with a smile. “And that was turning point in life, because I thought that since I did not die, let me try to live now.” (Mcarthy). Luckily, Aher’s failed attempts to take her own life resulted in her attempt to live. Both speeches clearly show how transgender people need to stop being discriminated against. Although laws have been passed in India deeming a “third gender” (Mcarthy), the amount of discrimination that occurs is unacceptable.

  11. Nihad Anwar says:

    In the article “A Journey of Pain and Beauty” is about transgenders or specifically is an interview with one transgender in India by the name of Abhina Aher and her experiences being a transgender. This interview actually clears many doubts for me when writing my paper and would actually my paper if it would be allowed as a source. Geena Rocero states in her speech that she was fortunate for being born in an understanding and accepting family and having a freedom of choice, however she does not get into too many specifics regarding the torture transgender people go through (Rocero 2). In the interview with Abhina, she talks about the hardships a transgender who is unfortunate goes through. Painful back alley castrations, frequent deaths, rituals that may not be comfortable for an individual, society rejecting transgender, rejection from sometimes their own family and not being able to chose a personal way of living life (Cornish 2, 4). These are all aspects of the Hijras of India that Geena could not bring into the feel of her speech and would definitely support claims made in the paper.

  12. The article “A Journey of Pain and Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India,” written by Audie Cornish, tells the story of Abhina Aher, a transgender woman who regales her life in India. The article adds to my understanding of the other works, more specifically Geena Grocero’s tedtalk “Why I Must Come Out.” Both women have displayed their sexuality even when they were children, Geena wearing a t-shirt over her head and Abhina wearing jewelry and clothing from her mother, respectively. However, while Geena’s family accepted her for who she is, Abhina did not receive such love, and was shunned and rejected, even from her own family. On one occasion, “…Abhina grew more effeminate and became the object of abuse- dragged into libraries, stripped, and taunted by older boys at school” (Cornish). Abhina would be so tormented that she even attempted suicide on three separate occasions, which Geena mentioned that transgender people has a suicide rate of being nine times higher than the general population. Abhina’s struggle to be who she is now was a long, difficult road to surpass, as other transgender individuals are similar to finally be accepted as well. This work supports the tedtalk presented by Ms. Grocero, supporting acceptance so discrimination will finally cease and others like Abhina will not have to suffer the same fate as well.

    • Cameron Burt says:

      I couldn’t agree with Giorgos anymore, the parallels between Rocero’s “Why I must come out” and Abhina Aher’s account “A journey of Pain and Beauty” are quite apparent. I appreciate the connection Giorgos made between Rocero’s childhood and Aher’s childhood, and how they both attempted to alter their appearances. Rocero wore a shirt on her head to hid her hair and Aher wore her mothers clothing and jewelry. Although both Aher and Rocero’s journeys were difficult, it is clear that Aher was discriminated against incredibly. After opting to join the “Hijra”, a transgender community in India known as Eunichs, Aher was affected greatly. ” dragged into the school library, stripped and taunted by older male students. Aher’s teacher was no source of comfort: She declared the tormentors were in the right” (Cornish). Such tragic occurrences are not rare to those who find themselves uncomfortable with their gender. Additionally, Giorgos drew a parallel between Aher’s failed suicide attempt and Rocero’s inclusion that the transgender population has a suicide rate nine times higher than the world population as a whole. In fact a major reason Rocero made her TEDTALK speech was to drive people to accept the transgender population and end such dangerous discrimination. Conclusively, Girogos’ response to the connections between these two speeches is very clear and makes very valid points, Bravo.

  13. xiaozhen says:

    “A Journey of Pain and Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India” adds to my understanding of the ted talk,”Why I Must Come out”. In two passages, they are talking about their outside self didn’t match their inner self. They both were assigned by boy at birth, but they all knew what exactly inner self was. In order to do inner self, they all underwent a lot of sufferings. However, Aher was not luckily as Geena, she was alone. Her mother didn’t understand her, her classmates even her teacher felt that she was weird, and also she became the object of abuse. Even though the country’s supreme court declared that India’s transgender population shall be considered a third gender, people still put them in different categories, and still was marginalized groups.

  14. Jiajiefan says:

    The article “A journey of pain and beauty” by Aher strengthens my understanding of Geena ’s Ted Talk “Why I must come out”. Aher expresses her childhood’s experience of how she suffers from being a male to reinforce me about why Geena describes herself as a fortunate person in her Ted Talk. Both Aher and Geena are born with male identity but they rejects that and finds more comfy of being a female. However, Geena is fortunate because she has her family and friends to support and encourage her for having a transgender surgery. By contrast, Aher endures taunt, ridicule and disrespect as she is growing up. Aher forces herself to bury her inner truth of being a female in the deep in order to not shame her mother until she starts her career. And even worse, Aher attempts to commit suicide because her mother doesn’t admit and support her thought of being a transgender. After all these suffering, Aher eventually join in a transgender ’s community which calls Hijras and has a transgender ’s surgery. The government in India claims transgender citizens as “third gender”. In conclusion, “A journey of pain and beauty” offers me a different view of how transgenders endure all these unfair and discrimination in their life, and they deserve more care and support from society.

  15. avner baruch says:

    The interview by Julie McCarthy with Abhina Aher, “A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming Transgender in India” enhanced my understanding of Ms. Rocero’s journey. Both people were born with male anatomy, but did not self-identify themselves as men. Aher grew up with a mother who was not supportive of how he self-identified and was tormented emotionally. Whereas, Ms. Rocero grew up with a mother who was very supportive and allowed her to become the person she wanted to be without needing to seek a dangerous lifestyle like Aher. For example, Ms. Rocero’s mom “… came with me when I had my surgery in Thailand at 19 years old.” (G.Rocero, 5:05) In contrast, when Abhina Aher had surgery he risked his life and had it “…in a dingy room, a 10 by 10 room probably….The operations are normally done by quacks, and a lot of Hijras dies because of that.” (J. McCarthy, 3) By reading Aher’s interview, it added to my understanding of Ms. Rocero’s journey by making me realize how important it is for a transgender person to have a strong support system.

  16. Matthew Chan says:

    Ahers, “A Journey of Pain and Beauty” adds on to my understanding of the reading, “Why I must come out”. In both scenarios, a transgender person describes their decisions to change their sex and an over view of their childhood struggles. In “A Journey of Pain and Beauty” the speaker however, also speaks about the struggles she faced when attempting to become a woman. In “Why I must come out”, the author doesn’t describe the struggles that she had to endure. “A Journey of Pain and Beauty” details the bullying that the author faced while adding in her cultures thoughts on being a transgender citizen.

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