Published: 05th October 2020
This transwoman poet has released the first lullaby for intersex children. Here's why you need to hear it
Vijayarajamallika's song reminds intersex children and their mothers that their identity does not need to be male or female but is their own to choose
“Mothers have lullabies to put their male and female children to sleep but do you know how intersex children sleep at night?” asks poet Vijayarajamallika. In fact, she believes that the world has been unfair to intersex children. In August, she released the song 'Aanalla Penalla' as an anthem for the children and their mothers.
“Intersex children are born everywhere but they are either raised in shame or hiding. What happens to these children is that they are thrown out of their families for being different,” she says. “I don’t believe that that it is a privilege to be born as a man or a woman. What is important is to be a good human being.”
The artist’s lullaby hopes to lend motivation and enlightenment to mothers for not throwing their children out or being ashamed of them. The lines say, ‘You may not be a boy, you may not be a girl but you are the apple of my eye. You are not a curse or a sin, you are the lucky star of my life.’ It asks mothers to accept their children as they are born without branding them as male or female. Vijayarajamallika’s lyrics calls for a world outside of boxes of colour, creed, caste, sex or gender.
The artist who is a trans woman herself learned at the age of 32 that she had 47, XXY, a set of chromosomes that result from two or more X chromosomes in males. “Doctors said that I have underdeveloped penis and testes, and not removing it could lead to a tumour. This is just one kind of an intersex identity. The different ways in which intersex identities exist are various and they are beautifully unique in themselves.”
The term intersex contains within it a variety of conditions in which people are born with reproductive parts that don’t fall under the male or female ideals. And in many parts of the country, such children are considered the result of a sin or curse committed by their families. In fact the artist cites examples of her own friends with intersex identities whose parents sexuality were questioned because of their children.
She says, “In Kerala, there are shameful misconceptions that surround these conditions. There are those who have even said that women who wear tight jeans give birth to transgender children. This is wrong on so many levels! Firstly, they are implying intersex children because no child is born transgender. This is a conscious decision people make when they aware of themselves. But society does not accept these children.”
In 2019, Madras High Court made an iconic judgement banning the sexual reassignment surgeries of intersex infants who cannot make the choice for themselves. The poet celebrates such decisions and calls for society to work more towards recognising people as the are. On September 6, a translated version of the first intersex lullaby was released in Tamil as well. She says, “The friedns of many intersex friends I have called and told me how happy they were to hear the song. If a mother accepts you, society cannot shame you anymore, it is all the bravery you need.”