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

  1. Kwan Yuk says:

    After reading this interview, I learned that it is a very serious problem when a man becomes feminine in some countries like India. In the interview, Abhina mentioned that since his mother found out her son used to do grand performances in front of neighborhood, she got really mad about this action. She asked his son to sit and make a pledge that he will never do this again (A journey of pain and beauty pg2). To me, this action is unreasonable because a man should have the freedom to choose what he likes to do and dancing is not something that only belongs to woman and girl. Besides family’s concern, Abhina also mentioned that in school, he became the object of abuse. She told him that the feminine way that he behaved is a big issue. He was asked to hide his inner truth for five years.( a journey pg2) This is unlike the condition that Geena had met. Her family support her and accept the girl-like behavior that she has.

  2. Ardit Gjoni says:

    This interview puts an interesting perspective on the more harsher environments that transgender people have to face in life in comparison to the other readings. While Geena Rocero had struggled part of her life with being uncertain of who she was, she atleast had the support of family members like her mother. Abhina Aher goes through a phase of understanding who she is only for her mother to be unsupportive and distant from her in this ordeal. It’s one thing for random strangers to not be considerate to who you are, but when that level goes down further towards even your own family not being by your side , then that truly emphasizes how hopeless this situation really can be for some people. This interview puts more thought into the idea that not everyone will try to fight it and may even give up. Luckily for Aher , she had managed to survive her suicide attempts but they never should’ve been phases she had to go through to begin with. It is very true that both Aher and Geena Rocero had both lived very similar lives at one point. It is only true right until a certain turning point was reached in their lives that results were drastically different.

  3. Gurjot Singh says:

    The article “A Journey of Pain and Beauty:On Becoming Transgender in India” adds to my understanding of “Why I Must Come Out” by Geena Grocero. Just as how it was a big victory for Geena to be considered female when she moved to the United States of America, it was a huge victory for the “Hijras” to not choose to either be male or female, but to be considered their own sex. Having spent great part of my life in India, I have seen “Hijras” walking around the street and begging for money. Even though I agree that they should be considered the same as other human beings and should have the same rights, I do not agree with their behavior with men on the streets, and do see any right for them to act in such a vulgar manner with the people around them.

  4. This article helps me get a deeper understanding on our previous reading “Why I Must Come Out” by Geena Grocero. It helps me understand that this issue is going on in other parts of the world. Although I am familiar with the term hijra because that term is also used in Pakistan, I was quite shocked and amazed that India passed the law in declaring them to be a third gender. It gives me a deeper understanding of the struggle that transgenders have to go through in other to achieve the transformation they wish for. Although we see that Geena’s mother was very supportive and she had a safe procedure in order to turn into a women, we realize by reading “A Journey Through Pain and Beauty” that not all transgender are that fortunate and suffer a great amount of pain and discrimination to truly be who they desire to be.

  5. Kevin Gomez says:

    The interview “A Journey of Pain and Beauty: On Becoming Transgender in India” deepen my understanding of Geena Rocero’s tedtalk, “Why I Must Come Out.” After reading the interview I realized how society in other cultures targets those who are transgender and oppose the social norm. Such as what’s happening right now in India. The interview help me better understand how important family is when someone rejects their biological identity. For example, when Geena says,”I never had the courage to share my story, not because I thought what I am is wrong, but because of how the world treats those of us who wish to break free. Every day, I am so grateful because I am a woman. I have a mom and dad and family who accepted me for who I am. Many are not so fortunate.” It was the support of her family that help her become what she desired to be without going through the struggle others had to face. However in Aher”s case, he was not so fortunate. His mother rejected the idea of him being different. For 15 years he lived not being himself, confused, and attempted to take his own life. From this interview, I learn transgender individuals need the support of their families to accept who they really are, or they spend the first two decades feeling unwanted and puzzled.

  6. The interview “A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India.” Gives a more understanding of how transgender is a problem to Aher’s family, friends and society. This interview also adds to my understanding of the Ted talk “Why I Must Come Out” by Geena Rocero, because both article talks about transgender, where both Abhina and Geena were born as male, and then chose to be female. Aher stated about his single mother, who is his motivation, because he walked in his mom’s cloth, jewelry and makeup. Aher struggled a lot in his society and culture which even lead him to commit suicide. But in case of Geena, she didn’t struggled as much as Aher, because she got more opportunities and freedom. I have had my fair share of experience with Hijras. Having grown up in India, I have seen them in trains in groups, rounding up people and forcing them to pay money. They dress up like women but have very manly sound and physique.

  7. Armen Bijimenian says:

    “A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India” adds to my understanding of Geena Grocero’s story. Grocero’s story is all about how she was accepted as a transgender by her family and friends, and how they supported her. Reading about Aher’s experience made me realize the struggle people go through for acceptance in society.

  8. Isabelle Davidov says:

    “A Journey of Pain and Beauty: On Becoming Transgender in India” has added to my understanding of Geena Roceros ted talk “Why I Must Come Out”. In this article Aher explains that he had to alter his lifestyle and act a certain way to please those around him. He felt as though there was something wrong with him. He even opens up about nearly ending his life. His story adds emphasis to the hard times and struggle that Geena Rocero points out in her ted talk. “…She’s a young woman who was courageously living her truth, but hatred ended her life. For most of my community, this is the reality in which we live. Our suicide rate is nine times higher than that of the general population.”(Rocero, 2) In this quote, Geena explains how hard it may be for some people to be accepted for their gender in society and Ahers story adds to my understanding of how difficult it is.

  9. The article “A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India” added to my understanding of how much people aren’t accepted in this world. It really helped showing me that we should be who we want to be and not what others want for us. It painted a picture to the reader of how difficult it is living and growing up in another country where things might not be accepted. Each story paints a vivid picture of people’s life as a struggle and them being helped. I also felt a similar connection while listening to the Ted Talk speech by Geena Grocero

  10. The interview “A Journey of Pain and Beauty: On becoming Transgender in India” added to my understanding of Geena Rocero’s Ted Talk “Why I Must Come Out” in many ways. One such way is Abhina Aher similarly to Geena Rocero was born a male but always identified as female. For both of them this knowledge that they wanted to be female came at an early age. Rocero stated how she used to walk around her house with a shirt on her head saying it was her hair. And Aher stated how she used to dress up in her mothers clothes, makeup, and jewelry. Another way that they are similar is that they acted upon their desire to be female by going so far as to have operations to change their outward appearance. Both of these examples help me understand that cases such as Geena Rocero aren’t rare and isolated but rather a common occurrence that people nee to recognize and accept.

  11. Daniel Aronov says:

    The article “A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India” adds to my understanding of the term “Gender.” This article, similar to Geena Grocero’s TEDTalk, talks about how a male and female gender was rejected and produced a third gender. This goes similar to Geena Grocero’s opening statement in which she says:” The world makes you something that you’re not, but you know inside what you are, and that question burns in your heart.” Also this interview helps me see the world from the point of view of someone who is transgender and how they are viewed by society if they do come out as transgender. Being transgender isn’t easy as stated in the article, as people face peer pressure, emotional stress, etc. Aher struggled of being able to who she was because of society and culture and lived years as a boy just like Grocero did. In my opinion, society needs to help to form he understanding that regardless of whar gender you are, or what gender you become does not define how you should be treated. Everyone needs to be treated equally with the same rights and opportunities because in my opinion, everyone deserves an opportunity at life.

  12. Jay Lebowitz says:

    This interview between Aher and McCarthy certainly adds to my understanding of Grocero’s “Why I Must Come Out” speech. Aher indirectly analyzes why the conventional (extremely outdated and insensitive) institution of the ‘gender binary’ is simply ineffective and problematic. The interview shares another tragic story of severe hardships and struggles faced by a member of the transgender community. In her speech, Grocero thoroughly explains the advantages of having a strong support system of family and friends. Grocero consistently makes it clear that the concept and very element of life that is gender is not at all something as simple and inflexible as much of the world has long made it out to be. Aher provides evidence of this, describing her personal history with her mother not fully accepting a daughter of transgender identity- and illustrating a portrait of the Hijras, the revolutionary third gender of India.

  13. Maria Hayee says:

    The interview “A Journey of Pain and Beauty: On Becoming Transgender in India” adds to my understanding of one of our previous readings titled “Why I Must Come Out” by Geena Rocero. Geena Rocero also talked about how difficult it was for her to come out and share her story. She felt that “all of us are put in boxes by our family, by our religion, by our society, our moment in history, even our own bodies.” This reading also stressed the same idea of how society is so rigid and unacceptable to something different. As Abhina Aher grew more effeminate things got complicated for him. He was picked on by other boys and even the teachers were of no help. Unlike Geena Rocero, Abhina Aher had no moral support. Even his own mother disapproved of him and tried to change him into something that he wasn’t. Both readings stressed how difficult it was for transgenders to gain the same rights as other human beings. Transgenders have a very high suicidal rate and up to 40% are said to be infected with HIV because they have to resort to selling sex to survive. Both readings helped me realize that gender is a very complicated matter and cannot be defined so simply. It also showed me how society has established an overly simplified and narrow method of categorization in regards to sexual identification. I believe that we should be more accepting of different things and treat everyone equally regardless of their sexual preference.

  14. This article adds to my understanding of gender form other readings by stating that gender is a complicated issue not only in certain parts of the world, but all around and in all cultures. Gender is not something that is fixed to people as identity and people should have the right to choose how they want to look like. But society as a whole, views gender as immutable and this point of view is what needs to be changed. The other readings talks about how gender is beyond anatomy and how people feel to be discriminated against. This article shows more of a new path that human beings are leading to by focusing on the consideration of transgender as a third gender after all what those people have suffered through. So in general, we can conclude that people are moving more towards a society where gender is considered a choice to human identity, rather than being unique about gender.

  15. Andrew Wildstein says:

    The article “A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India” made it more difficult to understand what exactly is accepted in the world as gender. As we have read in the previous Ted Talks, we were told by both Grocero and Dreger that we should be accepted by everyone no matter what our genetic makeup is. However, Aher is not accepted by many people besides other transgenders. He is actually considered a disgrace to his family, and it was so bad that he and his mother did not talk. In addition, many places would not hire transgeneders in India. “Forty percent of the transgender population is infected with HIV,” (NPR 4) because of the fact that they cannot get jobs and need to sell there bodies for sex in order to survive. This is not the way people should have to be treated. Just because you are different does not mean you need to live on the outskirts of society. If one is different, they are just as human as you and I are. Society has to realize this problem, and work to fix it much more quickly before suicide rates increase more. Although, we are told the Supreme Court in India is trying to improve socio-economic status of the Hijras, we as society need to help to make the understanding that what gender you are, or what gender you become does not define how you should be treated. Everyone needs to be treated equally with the same rights and opportunities.

  16. Zainab Karim says:

    “A Journey Of Pain and Beauty: On Becoming Transgender in India” by Audie Cornish deepens my understanding of Geena Rocero’s story of “Why I must come out?” Rocero stresses about the family support that she received, which enabled her to embark on her journey of becoming who she wanted to be, her true self. She goes on to address that gender is beyond what gender we are assigned at birth; it is about how we identify ourselves regardless of our genitalia. Abhiha Aher struggled of being able to who she was because of society and culture. She lived years a boy and pretending to be someone to satisfy her mother and culture. Many people refuse to identify who they are because society sets standards and social norms, making them feel that being who they are is wrong.

  17. The article “A Journey Of Pain And Beauty: On Becoming Transgender In India” gave me a deeper understanding about the term “gender”. This article briefly explains how transgenders are living their life in India. They are given a third gender title and are seen and treated differently than any other normal people. For this reason, their lifestyles in society usually get uncomfortable and challenging. Being transgender is not a sin or a crime because it is how they were born. Those who go through problems are the ones who actually understand how it goes and works out well. People in India make a big deal about it, when I think they should be thankful about themselves since they are living a healthy lifestyle. I honestly think that if the transgenders are accepted the way they are then their stress will be decreased and it will definitely make them feel acceptable. There is nothing wrong to be real in fact we should respect everybody.

  18. Hamid Javed says:

    This interview adds to my understanding off Geena Grocero’s story because she says how important it is to receive the support from your family, friends, and colleagues. Aher, a transgender in India suffered from extreme criticism. She was seem as a disgrace to her family and society. This reminds me how Grocero actually received support from her family, which enabled her to proceed further in life more quickly. On the contrary, Aher was not easily accepted by anyone, even her family. This had her make many suicidal attempts. This proves Grocero’s statement. Places like India, where culture is extremely valued, transgender are discriminated against in jobs, housing, health care, and education. These two articles are deeply related and shows two sides of the same story, which seems fascinating to me. But, in the end both women are admirable because even though they went through a journey of pain, their inner beauty protected them. These two women give gender a new meaning and try to make their place in society as an equal.

  19. Shanna Razak says:

    This article is very helpful in understanding the complex topic of gender. Prior to this article I have developed the opinion that gender is not as simple as many believe (placing someone in the category of female or male based of anatomy). I also believe that one should have the option to choose their and that gender is not fixed . Lastly I believe that gender should not play a part in the way in how one views another . This interview helps me see the world from the point of view of someone who is transgender. I learn that they face many challenges this includes horrible criticism from society. In the eyes of Abhina many people in her life were very judgmental , this includes her parents her friends and her teachers (Cornish ,2). Abhina even reached a point in which she became suicidal but after many attempts she realizes she was meant to live. She slowly transformed through hard work and perseverance eventually being able to show who she truly is on the outside. Today India has declared that transgender as a third gender. This article has helped me understand that gender is seen as simple around the world but truly that theory should be changed. Gender is more than just A equals A it is a matter of a combination of many factors this includes personal opinion and input of who you truly believe you are.

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