A lullaby for an intersex child

Mohiniyattam adaptation of the lullaby has also become viral

Lullabies are aplenty in Malayalam. But nobody has ever thought of a lullaby for an intersex child. Many in our society are still not ready to believe that intersex children are born here.

Transgender poet Vijayarajamallika’s ‘Aanalla Pennalla neeyente thenmani…’ may be the first lullaby for an intersex child in Malayalam, and it has already become viral on social media.

“In a society that does not even acknowledge the birth of intersex children, it should be the mother who should give them love and care. Mothers’ support can instil confidence in them in the hostile society,” said the award- winning poet.

“Children born with both sex organs have been identified as intersex. But our social norms identify it as an abnormality. Parents compel the doctors to conduct early surgery to make the child either male or female. Though the Madras High Court last year banned such surgeries, many superspecialty hospitals in Kerala do such operations regularly. The children have been forced to undergo hormonal treatments,” Ms. Vijayarajamallika says.

But what the parents fail to understand is, such surgeries can change only their external appearance. The sexual orientations and emotions remain the same. Many such children, who express variable sex orientations, are later expelled from the family and society.

“Society does not see them as normal. Many of them suffer from bipolar disorders and depression. They fail to become productive in society. Many of them get dropped out from education institutions,” noted the poet, also a winner of the Vayalar Ramavarma award of the Yuvakalasahithy.

The parents get traumatised when an intersex child is born in the family. The social stigma is so severe that in many places in north India, such children are being killed as soon as they are born. Some of them are sold off.

No studies

It is reported that there are 42 variations of intersex personalities. No serious studies have been conducted about this. What we are doing is just mapping of the socio-demographic factors. Kerala society is still not ready to accept the fact that such children are born here. Even educated people think that such children are born because of some abnormal behaviours of their parents.

Shini Avantika has lent voice to the lullaby. Writer and teacher Sandhya Edakkunny has adapted the lullaby into Mohiniyattam. Nilambur Sunil Kumar is the music composer. Tamil version of the lullaby will be released soon, said Ms. Vijayarajamallika, whose poem Daivathinte Makal is part of syllabus in Madras University.

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