22 March 2006

Indian eunuch says will “bare it all” in autobiography

19 March 2006 BANGALORE
From sexual abuse by drunken men to taunts from women and beatings from policemen, eunuch Jereena says she will “bare it all” in her autobiography, the first by a transgender The 128-page book titled “Autobiography of a Hijra (eunuch)” and written in Jereena’s mother tongue Malayalam, spoken in the southern Indian state of Kerala, is slated for release by the end of March.“Nobody in India knows how we struggle for a living nor how we feel when people insult us,” said Jereena, dressed in an orange sari and a green blouse and wearing ear rings, glass bangles and a necklace.“I thought I will write a book to tell them about my life’s experiences. “People who read my book will know the pain we undergo every day, every moment of our lives,” Jereena, 46, told AFP in an interview at her “hamam,” or bath house, as the eunuchs’ brothel is referred to.
“I will bare it all in the book.” Jereena, who uses only one name, left Kerala aged 18 for the southern city of Chennai and shortly after moved again, to settle almost 20 years ago in India’s high-tech city of Bangalore.
“When I was in my fourth standard (grade) I came to know I had a liking for men. I had sex with the principal when I was only nine years. My brothers and parents started bothering me with threats when I told them I wanted to become a eunuch,” Jereena said.“I had to stop my education after passing tenth standard. I knew I have to leave my hometown if I want to become a eunuch. I left my village at the age of 18,” said Jereena.
“Soon I realised the life ahead (would not be) easy,” said Jereena, who heads the eunuch community in Bangalore. “I have to engage in prostitution and begging to eke out a living.”
Men, she says, throw eggs and rotten tomatoes at her and other eunuchs when they walk the streets of Bangalore, and women jeer and scream.
Drunken men often beat eunuchs after having sex with them, police beat them for soliciting customers, and customers sometimes refused to pay, Jereena said.
Doctors often refused the treatment, believing “we have HIV/AIDS,” and no one would give them jobs. “All this will feature in my book,” Jereena said.
“I sell myself to keep the pot boiling. There are eunuchs out here who survive as dancers in bars and by going from house to house in search of a new born baby,” Jereena said.
India’s estimated one million eunuchs are regulars at Indian festivities, entering homes uninvited to bless babies and regularly gatecrashing weddings.
Jereena, who was married to a man for six years but divorced under pressure from her in-laws, said she wanted her autobiography to be educational.
“The purpose of the book is to make others understand and accept us. For example do you know that I have an adopted son. He is not a eunuch and he works as a fruit vendor,” said Jereena.
“Do you know that I work with my colleagues to encourage them to use condoms?” Jereena said. “People think we are without a heart. My book is an attempt to change that and every other negative perception they have.”

4 comments:

  1. I would be interested to get a copy of the book when it is published Malika. Though I can speak Tamil and a little Hindi, Mayalam might be a tad difficult to understand yet alone read. And my Tamil is not good at all when it comes to writing.

    I hope they come out with a translated copy. That would be soooo good!!

    Luv

    Nina

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  2. i am intrested to get a copy of this book if it is in english. i am really happy that Malika is doing a great job

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  3. hmmm... interesting ! would love to read it, if it is translated in English.

    For how long are these people going to suffer like this ?

    I suffer when i see these people suffer.

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  4. I appreciate Jareena's work, by creating a autobiography of her experience in life. I am interested in buying this book, if its in english or hindi.

    Thanks to all discriminated individuals who are still living a life without fear!

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