(I)dentity – My Journey…

Anonymous

I am the second and youngest child to my loving parents, raised in a Malayali Catholic family in Northern India. I was a shy kid and my memories go back to my childhood days when I was 7 perhaps. My parents found their joy in me and they didn’t leave any stones unturned to bring me up soothingly. My sister was always protective of me and we grew playing our own invented games. Christmases and Easters were largely celebrated, and we shared other festivals as our own. We truly lived and cherished unity in a diverse lifestyle and culture. The biggest predictors of my family’s happiness wasn’t linked to money or luxury, instead it was our faith in each other, lessons on compassion and selfless commitment to human kind. To the outside observer, I was living the most contented life. I grew up with a sense of belonging and a feeling of something larger, yet there was something missing within me. This missing portion was nothing materialistic, rather it was an intimidating and scary feeling of being different from other boys. I was emotionally inclined towards boys and the feeling was not subtle. Yes, that’s right- I was “different” and I sensed it at a very tiny age.

I am guessing that my differences were evident. Thereby started series of bullying, discrimination and rejections. I was differentiated not just by my friends but sometimes their parents and mostly by adults. I was too little to term these feelings, but it made me unhappy. I remember, the small prayers that my mother taught me. I added mine into it and asked God a lot of innocent but tough questions. I prayed to help me become like other boys. There were many nights spent with bad dreams and dry tears when I wake up. Since I didn’t have a friend to share my feelings with, I bottled my thoughts and abhorred myself.

It is said that a child’s good or bad fortune starts from home. For me, it was a bad fortune. It was just after my 8th birthday and end of wintertime. My father was deputed for 15 days to another town by Indian Army, my mom was working her night shifts at the hospital and my sister was away on an outing. We called my cousin and his friend to come over for my well-being. They were 2nd year science students and respectable members in the family. My cousin was our role model and we adored him a lot. This dark night, during their stay at my home I was sexually molested by them. I didn’t know what they were exactly doing or why they were doing so, but I knew it was all wrong. I was shattered, my body was in pain that I had never known and my soul was filled with fear. I didn’t even know that I was raped, I was just eight years old to even articulate the incident. The breach of trust was awful. I couldn’t bear the experience beyond a point and ran to my sister’s room. I sat under her study table, still thinking, scared and shivering. I cried like a small baby, unknown of my next step. I locked the room and sat under the table that whole night. I was awake till the dawn next day. This incident shuddered my life-force, it further swelled my low esteem and it was hard to communicate with people. For days, I didn’t attend school and my sister was a close watcher. She saw me scared out of my wit. Her multiple attempts to get me talking about the incident made her realise that I didn’t know how to explain it. Finally she convinced me to write down my feelings on a piece of sheet and I found that was an easy way. It took me a while to write down my feelings, it was hard to explain in words. I wrote a long letter and gave it to my sister. I remember running out to our garden after handing the letter and waited for her. In about ten minutes she reached out to me in total shock. She didn’t know what to ask me, neither did I know what more to speak. She ran her fingers through my hair and pressed me closer to her. We both wept. My sister was even more hurt because our cousin was involved in the crime. In no time, she decided to confront my cousin. That evening, we both went to his home and she bravely probed him. He reluctantly agreed to the incident and my sister warned him. On our way back home, we didn’t speak a word but our thoughts were deep. My sister was still restless, and she decided to narrate the incident to our parents. We all went to the police station. Upon narrating the whole incident, the police officer said, “How can a male get raped? There is no such law and this is not a strong case- you will all run in circles and waste your money and energy”. They refused to even file a complaint. I believe this incident didn’t allow me to live my childhood, instead I emotionally and spiritually grew beyond my actual age. The questions pertaining to this incident still remains unanswered- “Why was I sexually abused and molested by my own relative at a tender age? “. Like any other vulnerable case, this one went under cover and we all chose not to speak about it. It was easy for us not to speak though, but has never been easy for me to forget that night till date. It is terrible that people don’t believe that even boys and men can get raped. I was and I am not alone in this world.

Moving on from my past and growing up, my sexual orientation became clearer to me.

On one side I was immensely getting attracted to other boys, other side I had conflicts between my Christian values and teachings that prohibits alternate sexuality. The mission to be more closer to God, led me to hate myself for being attracted to other boys.

Therefore I started behaving like other boys. In my early teens, I mixed up with other classmates and participated in all conversations that a regular teenager would do. I laughed and giggled on their jokes, spoke their language and adapted their lifestyle. But the harsh reality was that I was not happy pretending to be someone else. I knew in my bones that I am fitting into something that I am not made for. How much would I act, after all my classmates knew I wasn’t like them. They called me names, bullied, hit me on my head or back and even hid my school bag many times. I was never allowed to play games as none of them wanted me on their team. Mutely I used to sit near the music hall and watch them all playing football and cricket, while my legs swung. I don’t think there was a single grade that I didn’t face mistreatment. Each passing year I met a bunch of new boys who laughed at me and passed comments that I didn’t deserve. I gulped everything and paid less attention and it taught me to become more resilient and patient in life.

It was during recess one day- I saw a guy similar to my age and grade from another division, smiled at me from a distance. I smiled back. We crossed roads during later part of the day. He walked up to me and we spoke a bit. His name is Sanjay*. I realised in no time that Sanjay* is a person with mental disability. We became friends and for the first time in so many years, I found a friend. He had a huge smile on his face every time and held my hand when we ran through the corridor. But Sanjay’s* story was not different from mine. He hates school because of constant bullying faced due to his disability. A few stories that he narrated made me feel that I am listening to my own life episodes. We both were victims of different circumstances, yet so connected. It was our daily routine to share and quickly finish lunch and then play games for some time. One day as usual we both sat down at our regular spot to have lunch. It was different that day and both of us didn’t see it coming. A group of guys from our respective classes walk up to Sanjay* and ploughed their hands into his lunch box. Topping that, they laughed at him and ate his entire food. Sanjay* was ashamed and equally angry. With full strength he kicked one of the boys. Perhaps, this was the first time I saw another side of Sanjay*. This infuriated the gang and they started hitting on his head from all direction. Sanjay* couldn’t balance them all and ran in circles. The sight shook my soul and I ran into the mob to push them away from him. The boys in turn started hitting me and for the first time I got into a fist fight with them. I saw Sanjay* crying and this incident aggravated his ailment. He shouted and threw stones at the boys. I was still hitting a guy rolling on the ground while another guy from behind pulled my hair and swayed my head in the air. The scene turned out violent and the school admins were alerted. None of us were allowed to step back to our classrooms and Sanjay* was taken to the hospital. For the first time in my life, I was loud against mistreatment and injustice. I heard Sanjay’s* situation got worse because of the tremor and since then I never saw my friend. His parents enrolled him into another school. Today, I still wonder from where did I mustered the strength to fight the boys, why was I so furious towards discrimination? Had Sanjay not taken the first step to confront his tormenters, perhaps I wouldn’t have had recognized my inner strength that was hidden all these years. I am not trying to say that a physical fight displays the right manners of strength but it was definitely the first time in my life that I stood up against a wrong practise. I miss Sanjay but he taught me a grave lesson. There is no space for discrimination and no one should to be bullied. Everybody deserves respect and love- irrespective of built, disability, sexual choices, gender, background, caste, colour, ethnicity and creed.

During my college days I was still dealing with my inner conflicts around sexuality. While everybody were living their youth, I was busy learning more about sexualities and different forms of orientation in a human being. Between 19 and 23 years I read a lot of books- both mythology and science, met people from the various spaces of education dealing with sexuality, spoke to counsellors, parents and teachers. It was during this phase that I became knowledgeable about Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transwoman, Transman, Intersex, Pansexual, Asexual and other dimensions of sexual identities. On my way I met many survivors who faced immense torture from society because of their sexual identities. I met folks who were disowned by their own families because they belonged to minority group of sexual identity or expression. Each story was unique.

I did a project on Transgender during my third year in graduation. I took up this project because of my growing inquisitiveness about the Trans world. I have only known them as a bunch of tough people who roam around public spaces asking money, sing songs during Indian weddings and pick fights. But I was curious to learn their history, lifestyle and the whole community in itself. The project duration was for three months. I visited them every week at different corners of the city where they lived. I must say this, by the end of three months I just had respect for them. They are ostracized by the main stream society and treated as untouchables. Then, they didn’t have rights to cast vote or have government identity cards. They couldn’t apply for any jobs and lived on mercy of others, begged on streets and earned perks via prostitution. They welcomed me to their small knitted community. I observed that’s a space where nobody would like to go and explore. There was something very startling that I noticed during my research. There were a few children in their homes, ageing 7 months to 13 years. I enquired about the children and they said,

“They are our children and we are parenting them”.

They explained further that these kids were abandoned by the biological parents for various reasons- some were born with visible/invisible disability, mixed gender, out of illegal relationships, while others were abandoned just because they were female babies while the biological parents desired sons. With the help of their network, the Trans gender persons adopted these kids and are bringing them up as their own. The sight moved me within. Two Sundays later, in the church, it was my turn to give the youth message. I couldn’t hold up my emotions and started my speech saying, “I have always been on lookout of Jesus in the churches. I never found him here. For the first time in 23 years of my church life, I found Jesus in the corners of the Trans community. I found peace, true love and service amongst this abandoned section of the society”. By end of my speech, I felt the heat in the church. It was a daring act to pick a subject that main line traditional Christians do not like to touch upon. Many didn’t like the fact that I researched on Trans lives. I got a call from the parish’s office and I knew what was coming my way. In my meeting with the priest, a kind person, I was asked a lot of tough questions around the youth speech I gave. I was able to answer all of that, and none of these answers were fabricated. In our conversation, I came out to the priest about my own sexuality and he seemed to be upset about it. Even before I reached home after the meeting, I got an e-mail from the church requesting to step down from the youth council as I could be a potential bad influence to others and that I need counselling for some time. I was very upset reading that e-mail. I thought church is a place where all are accepted, just like Jesus accepted all. In my reply e-mail to the church, I thanked them for the decision they made and mentioned,

 

“By removing me from this church, you have done a huge favour. You have distanced me from this church, but pushed me closer to humanity and God”.

The quench for acceptance from others became less relevant, it was rather more significant for me to accept myself at the first place. I agreed that there is nothing greater in life than to be honest to oneself and I will be leading a life full of fabrications, unless I accept myself. It was not the society that hated me, rather it was I who didn’t love myself. I remember sitting down one day, and took a sheet to write down my blessings. I wrote down everything- my talents, achievements, good occasions, happy moments, good decisions, people who mattered to me and luxuries. To my amazement, my list of blessings went from one sheet to another. This activity had a deep impression on my mind and I said to myself, “What am I unhappy for? What am I crying about? Why didn’t I count my blessings? Why did I focus so much over grief?”  I accepted myself inside out, including my sexuality. I realised that nobody can understand my body other than me. This led me to come out proudly to my sister and slowly to my friends. Further I grasped that I don’t have to wear my sexuality on my sleeves. I don’t have to explain it to people anymore. How many heterosexuals walk and talk about their sexuality? No sane successful society is made up of only one kind of people. Societies are always open to diversities in religion, language, work, sexualities and ethnicity.

I realised in all its capacity that everybody is as normal as you and me.

I can’t accept others until I forgive all those people who harmed me in my growing years.

After 18 years, I wrote an e-mail to my cousin and his friend who raped me, forgiving them for what they did. I wrote another e-mail to a group of friends who bullied me in college. Life is a circle of deeds and which is why my old church called me early this year to do a talk on Transgenders and alternate sexualities. I accepted the offer and along with another group, panelled an awareness session. Additionally, I got a chance to volunteer for certain LGBT, gender, persons with disabilities and child abuse organizations in India.

Since then, my journey didn’t stop. My inspiration comes from lives of many people who were torn apart by the prejudiced main stream societies, yet they stood up and fought their own battle. Each of us have our own battles to fight. In this judgemental world, we can’t keep all happy. But what we can do is perhaps be true to ourselves and be tolerant to others. It’s always kind to appreciate others and accept them irrespective of their background. We need to be cognizant about the truth that there are people with alternate sexualities all around us- workplace and homes. Some are visible and many are invisible living discreet lives due to fear of discrimination. Do not think it’s a mental disorder or deliberate choices. Homosexuality or any other alternate sexuality is just another form of sexual orientation as Heterosexuality. Medical Science, ancient religion and new age studies have all approved of it. Your children, siblings, friends and neighbours need you to accept them, do not abandon anyone. There is no joy in unscrambling and being judgemental about someone’s body that you don’t own.

The three simple messages that I have for anyone would be:-

  • Be true to yourself and others. Honesty is a priceless treasure. Do not be afraid to speak the truth
  • Don’t give space for fear in your life. Be humble when you are wrong and voice out when you are right- both are acts of a fearless person
  • Love and kindness is more powerful than judgements. You may not know the other side of the story always, so stop discrimination

 

My all-time favourite is a gospel song that defines “love” so apt. It goes like this…

“Love is patient, caring. Love is kind. Love is felt most when it’s genuine

But I’ve had my share of love abuse, manipulated and its strength misused

And I can’t help but give you glory, when I think about my story

And I know you favoured me, because the world tried but couldn’t triumph over me. Yes they did try but couldn’t triumph over me…”

 

**All images are representative, original source linked to the images.

The Butterfly Effect

Anonymous

Bangalore

During my childhood, I used to wonder why I was attracted to a few boys in my school but no girls at all. I wouldn’t say that I discovered my sexual orientation at a very young age, but there was something that always bothered me.

As I was growing up I began to realize that I was not alone but it wasn’t considered normal. I too had no desire to explore why I was attracted to boys the way boys were attracted to girls or girls to boys.

Internet had not arrived yet, the only source of information one had were the newspapers and the national TV channel. I guess if I had access to the internet then maybe I had done some search or reading?

Anyways, time passed and I was in college. Till school, either mom or dad was always with me wherever I went. Now I was traveling home-college-home all by myself. Dad didn’t buy me a two-wheeler so it was all public transport. Soon I realized that everything I had heard about women being harassed or molested even in public places wasn’t something limited to the female gender only. Whether it was transport or college, they were everywhere waiting to prey on you. I quickly learned that my safety was in my own hands, from confused to scared to stand up for myself against these predators was my journey till college came to an end. Access to internet played a big role in my life as it was the only source of information that helped me learn about myself. Now I knew that I was gay and I wasn’t ashamed of it.

You must be wondering why I am talking about my college life?

What I saw and learned during those days further pushed me to keep my orientation a secret. I knew better and knew that I had to pretend to be straight. I knew that it would have made me vulnerable and a soft target had anyone figured out that I was gay.

After college, I moved to Bangalore and thus began the Corporate life. Continued to pretend and slowly figured that Bangalore had its very own gay life. I never tried to find more about it but was always curious. I was aging into the life’s phase where my colleagues and friends were getting hitched and the obvious question came to me too.

Dad passed away due to a terminal illness, it was difficult times with my siblings in College. I felt that I had greater responsibilities on my shoulder than worrying about myself. Few more years passed, my siblings had started working and were no longer dependent on me.

Again, I had my life in front of me. I couldn’t take it anymore, I had started to feel guilty that I was lying to my family and friends. I decided that I should tell everyone. I posted it on my Facebook wall and didn’t check my account for the next 24 hours. What I had not realized is that the majority of folks on my friends’ list were from my work. I was nervous and even wanted to delete the post but the cat was out of the bag already! The next day I logged into my Facebook account and witnessed what I could have never imaged in my wildest of dreams. My wall was flooded with appreciation & encouragement. Some even wrote to me privately that they now respected me more for coming out to them. I even got messages from my colleagues in international locations stating how happy they were to learn about me.

But it wasn’t over, I was yet to come out to my family. I wrote an email to my siblings and was surprised that they supported me. It was my mother who took time to come to terms with it. She didn’t speak to anyone for over a week after I had told her that I was gay. She had a lot of questions and didn’t know who to ask. She was confused same as I was once. It took a couple of years but she came along.

And then the ultimate happened, I met the love of my life! I had never thought that I would pursue someone but here I was expressing my love and care for the one and only. He said yes and since then life is beautiful and progressive. It all happened fast, we met with each other’s family soon after we got into the relationship. Yes, our families know about us and our relationship and everyone is happy.

You must be thinking that everything I wrote above is positive so where is the struggle, where is that part that everyone looks for when a gay man tells his story. I want everyone to know ‘what’ creates that positive experience, ‘what’ allows you to be yourself without the fear of being judged and alienated. It’s the ACCEPTANCE of your family, friends, and colleagues.

You can fight the World if you have your close and loved ones who love you back and support you for who you are.

Acceptance from family and friends and acceptance at the workplace have played a crucial role in shaping my life, the life that I live today. I didn’t know anything about the outcome when I made the decision to tell them about my sexual orientation. It’s their love and support that has inspired me to drive inclusion, to provide that positive and encouraging platform for our LGBT friends.

Your acceptance, be it a family member or a friend or someone at your workplace or your neighbor, will go a long way in helping us live a better and happier life!

PC: All images have their source linked.

Bi & Proud

Sandy, Bangalore

Coming out as ‘bi’ is way different to coming out ‘gay’.

Think about it. One: there is a general opinion that bi people are confused and untrustworthy or that our sexuality is “just a phase”. Two: There’s added pressure to come out to everyone we are romantically involved with. We don’t have to – but then we carry the burden of not being authentic to ourselves or the relationship. Also, biphobic reactions are far too common and almost every bisexual person has horror stories to share about courting a straight or gay person for whom bisexuality was a deal-breaker.

Of course, this entire process can be simplified by coming out before the first date. Still, that is a level of disclosure that is not expected of straight or gay people, whose orientation is assumed by virtue of the gender of their mate. The risk of romantic rejection because of one’s sexual orientation is not a hurdle faced by straight or gay people.

When I came out to Jo, my girlfriend in uni, she dumped me. She said that she couldn’t live in the constant fear that one day I would realize that I was “actually gay”. She said that although she loved me, she’d always doubt my love for her. Years later, my relationship with Andrew didn’t go anywhere either. Worse, he wanted an ‘open relationship’. He said that he could never be serious with me since I was bi. He was scared that I’d leave him the moment my parents asked me to “settle down with a nice girl”.

A harsh truth that I learned when I came out was that for some people, my identity was always going to be defined by my orientation. As “the bi one” in most social circles, people find it easy to attribute whatever characteristics they associated with being bi, no matter how stereotypical, inaccurate, or offensive they are. I have been asked if I was sure I was bi and if I wasn’t “just gay.” I have also been asked if I’ve had trouble being monogamous in my relationships; if I have been sexually satisfied or craved intimacy with someone of a different gender than my current partner. Sometimes, people have the audacity to ask my partner of eight years too, right in front of my face, if me being bi doesn’t bother him.

It would most certainly be a bother to date someone who is bi, if one believed in these stereotypes. However, here’s something we know to be true about stereotypes – that they’re bullshit. They are nothing more than ideas based on stigma and ignorance, and often an inaccurate depiction of the community they claim to represent.

When I first decided to come out, I promised myself to be as authentic as possible. I wasn’t going to let one fear replace another. I am who I am – I am bisexual. My sexuality is not a character defect.

It is not something those who love us get to be bothered by. It is not something they should have to deal with because they’re with us. They should not love us despite our bisexuality, but rather love us, and the identities that come with us, wholly.

My sexuality is just a small part of my identity. But it is valid, it is real, and it is okay.

Yes I am a half male and a half female!

I am Daniel Francies Mary Mendonca, I look like a male, but I identify myself as a women and with this statement I write my story. From the bottom of my heart I thank Ram for doing this great work in getting brave story in front of the world.

Yes I am a half male and a half female. To say these words to the world and make myself comfortable with the statement has taken me long years. It has never been easy to come out of the closet and explain myself to the world, but with time, coming out to the world has filled me with happiness and joy. Through this life journey there was only one person who was next to my heart, which was none other than my friend, my savior, my love “JESUS”. Today with faith and convection I say to the world “I am in love with a man whose name is JESUS”.

I am happy that I am what I am. Looking at my past reminds me of all pain, discrimination, hatred and all form of violence that I have face being an “INTERSEX” person. It was never easy to face this in the, so called normal world.

I was born as a conjoin twin. My sister and I shared my one body. We were one body two heads. Difficult to digest the fact, but the work of nature and the hands of Gods created this wonder. As soon as we were born my sister was born dead. So the doctors took the decision of separating my sister from me. Form outside I looked like a male, but the doctors said that, though he looks like a male he has women organ inside his body this term basically called as hermaphrodite or INTERSEX. The doctor told my parents that your child is a eunuchs. My father, when he came to know this he abandoned me. A child who has just come to this world, doesn’t even know who his parent is, is rejected for who he is, is rejected because of his gender, is rejected because the child is a eunuch. At that very time my aunt who’s my father’s sister adopted me as her own child, she said that

if this child is born the way he is born, there must be God’s plan in creating the way the child is.

Having parents I was given to someone one, having parents but still I was an orphan.

Life continued, right from the time I was small I knew that I was different and the world around me did not leave a single chance of abusing me and making me feel out of this world as if I was an alien that was born on another planet. I never received fatherly attention, my relative always ignored me, and I was always kept behind of attending any religious and family function. Everyday became a questioning day, not single day of my childhood has been a happy day, my age children enjoyed childhood and I enjoyed the loneliness around me. The silence of fear, the silence of voice, the silence of being who you are were all over me.

The time came to me to go to school, the biggest mistake that my family made was putting me in Boys high school. As I was growing up in the school I was the only girl in the school. My teachers my school friends always used to taunt me, tease me and always insult me for who I was. Whenever I used to go to the washroom my senior always use to pull my pants to see what organ I would have down. I have been abused and also my seniors have tried to rape me, but with God’s grace I have been lucky enough to be saved. It was just not the situation at school, in home also when my own cousin brother tried to rape me, I thought at that age who am I, when I shared that incident with my parents, I still remember the words my father told me, it is ok if people use you for sex because people like you are born to serve the society. When people enjoyed their childhood I enjoyed the silence within me. When children played, I played with my questions, the only question asking myself who am I?

The time came that the truth be revealed to me, the question would end but I never expected this would be the way. I was in 4th Std,  9 and a half years old. It was an usual day I went to school, but before I left for school from home I told mom that my stomach was paining. She thought I was just making excuses and sent me to school. I went to school, after the lunch hour, I came back to class suddenly I felt strong pain in my stomach. I ran to the loo, like never before, I had just removed my pants because I felt something coming out of my stomach. I removed my pants and my ass broke into two parts along with the intestine came out my first menstruation. I opened my eyes after 3 days and I found myself in a hospital in London. It was possible to admit me in London because my aunt who had adopted me, her boss took me for treatment in London, so that I could be saved. I asked the doctor what happened, he said there was no place for your menstruation to come out, my child you are different and unique, and you are just here for your treatment.

The treatment went for long 8 years I spent in the hospital. In 8 years of my life in the hospital I have gone through 29 major operation and 19 minor operation and it was only to see how my body is working. Only my aunt was there with me my parents never bothered to ask how I was. It is in this hospital where I came to knew about myself. I tried committing suicide three time and with God’s grace I was saved. The doctors took a decision that they will give me religious counselling. That was the time when thing changed.

This was the time when I met my best friend JESUS, through the Holy Bible. I was very keen to know if there were people like me and what has God to say about people like me. I always cursed myself and God for who I was. But then I came to the verse which changed my whole life and the verses were (Isaiah 56:4-5), Jeremiah 1:5-7). These verses have changed my life.

Slowly as day passed JESUS become close to me and I become close to him. Personnel relationship started to develop with him and I become comfortable with myself. The sooner I accepted myself the way I was the better I felt of myself. Days passed and I was happier than ever. It was declared by the doctors that I had a female organ inside my body so it would be better to change my sex and become a full fledged women. I also was ready for the operation, but just few hours before the operation I decided not to go for the operation and reason was

I will stay in this world with my original identity

and not become  who I am not. Finally 8 years of my life was over in this hospital it was time to decide whether to continue in London or come back to India. It was not easy for me to decide but yet I chose to come down to India, the only reason being is I wanted to show my parents specially my father that an intersex child can also take care of the parents and live a dignified life.

I came to India, it was difficult for me at start and very stressful to be with family, but my mother was always there with me to support me. I wanted to study so with the help of my mom and aunt I was able to study. I gave my private SSC board, I had never even touched my book before and never done formal schooling but with the help of teacher I was able to complete my SSC and even passed the examination. I wanted to study future. I joined college it was again a challenge everyone in the college should teased me, I had no friends. One day I stood up in the college and shared my life story to each and everyone in the class, I started saying that “I am happy to be who I am and I am proud of my sexuality & gender”. After sharing my story things changed I had friends who now understood me and I began to get respect in the college for who I was. It was then I got the biggest opportunity of my life I was selected to represent UN from India on the issues of  LGBTIQ+.

With the help of my mother, aunt and friends life continued. I topped the 12th grade and for further studies took up Bachelor of Social Work. The reason being, I wanted to contribute to the issues of LGBTIQ+ in Indian society. My dream was and is to make society inclusive for gender minority community. It was not easy again to survive in the college and in the society but I made the way through proving my existence and fought for my rights in every stage of my life.

This was my special moment of life when NCCI of churches Fr Philip & Fr Thomas entered into my life. My first journey with them began in Anand (Gujrat) where I was invited to share my story and the friendship with NCCI took me all over India to make people and churches realize the diversity of gender. I realized that God was using me for this work and to bring a new revolution that will definitely create a history in days to come. The journey of NCCI had not only made me grown up mentally but also spiritually.

Today the same world looks at me differently. Today I am working in YUVA as a Community organizer, I am a living testimony of Christ, today I work in the church and take Sunday school, and I am part of youth group. This was only possible because I had accepted myself and the world around me accepted me the way I am. The only difference was I had to prove my existence every day of my life. Today life is much happier but the struggle is on. The day will come when people will accept gender minority and there will be no discrimination in this society.

People will accept the diversity of God and justice will prevail in the Kingdom of God.

I remember the word of the famous writer who says “when you were born you cried while the world rejoiced, when you die let the world cry, while you rejoice.” I am a drop in the vast ocean of world contributing towards the life of gender minority people in this world.

 

PC: Images source linked to the images!

I care for you a lot

Ajay Redij

It’s a journey about gratitude, love, care, principles, dreams and many more. It’s about my spiritual journey as a human being. I was born in well-educated and culturally sound family. Life has been a roller-coaster ride till date. What makes us lucky to be living beings is that we can know, understand, feel and respond to everything around us, isn’t it?

I came to terms about my sexuality much later, because I always avoided the topic myself. I would attribute my adolescence to “A birth of a river through the glaciers of feelings and emotions, which went deep underground to be discovered later.” I still remember weird dreams that I used to get, where I used to see a world of only men. My logical mind used to poke me about, “How will in this ‘World of Men‘, people will get married to each other?” Since then I have been living two lives. I used to be an ideal kid in family. And the other who was curious about emotional ups and downs happening inside me. I used to avoid the inner voice because, I was afraid of his feelings and I was protecting by hiding him in the deepest parts of my mind. Academically, I was average kid. Music was always my savvier. I am a good singer and used to sing in school programs.

10 years passed by and I was in second year of academic life. Everything was going well with my regular academics and personal life. And then one fine day, I got a huge crush on a guy, those were mixed feelings of joy and fear. I had no option than getting over those feelings. I overcame those situations somehow, but I was hurt. Was totally devastated from inside, was totally heart broken. I was literally ashamed of myself. Time passed and I completed my graduation and opted for Post-Graduation. My post-graduation was more of struggle for everything from my academic, personal and private life. I was in depression. And it was affecting everything around me. My mom used to notice and ask me about “what’s going on?” But I was not able to utter a single word. She already had been through a lot. My depression overtook me so bad that I was on anti-depressant medication for 2 months with counselling sessions. I was not able to tell my problems to my psychiatrist, due to fear of rejection. I used to feel I am only one who is going through this.

And finally I had failed my final exams. That time my situation was like, I had already been placed in a company, I had qualified NET lectureship and I had failed my final exam. I was staying alone in apartment, since I had shifted for job in new city. Those 2 months when I was living on my own and going through all this. I used to keep reading about it. Internet was big help to understand what exactly I was feeling. I came to know that, I was not only one who had been through this. There were many others. I used to see YouTube videos of people expressing their thoughts and that was helpful. I was trying to stay strong, but I was at the verge of going mad. I had read about coming out. How to tell someone about yourself and everything related. One day my elder sister called me and had a nice regular chat. I don’t remember what exactly she said, but that some statement triggered something inside me and I broke into tears. I felt similar feeling as if close beloved one’s death. I was not able to understand, why am I feeling that way? I didn’t eat anything for 2 days. I was having just water to survive and used to cry a lot when alone, which I used to be most of the times. I was realizing that one of my two personalities had died inside me and the one which I used to fake that was the one. I took a decision to commit suicide. 

But before that, I just wanted to give a try: how if I come out to someone so that if I get a support it will be like, “getting a support of stick for a drowning person.” If not than suicide option was already there. I could only think about my best friend in this matter. He told me that he was planning to come for an interview in my city. When we met I got really scared to utter a word about it, I went into complete silence. Then after a deep breath I said, “I wanted to share something with you about me that I have never told to anyone and it’s my big secret.” I just opened website of PFLAG and opened web page of FAQs for the close ones of LGBT. That page has answers to all the questions which come in mind of close ones when someone opens up about sexuality to them. He read it, and looked at me in eyes and asked, “What is it? Why did you give me this?” I said, “I never said about this to anyone, since 12 years. I have been living two lives, one is what you see me as and another is one I am protecting since I realised that I like boys and have no interest in girls. I feel very ashamed of myself and feel very depressing about it. I had taken decision of committing suicide. But to give a last chance I just wanted to tell and see the response about it.” He listened to what I said carefully and said, “See Ajay, why you are ashamed of yourself when you have made your family and every one of us proud by your achievements? Look at your achievements, you are so passionate about your research and you also have qualified NET lectureship. Doesn’t that makes you feel good? I don’t care about whom you like or what you are! You are good human being and that is what matters to me.” I broke into tears and couldn’t believe my ears for some time about what he just said. That moment was first moment of joy I had after so long-time. I felt like I saw a ray of light just passed through some hole in the dark room where I was trapped since many years. Some barrier had been broken and had made water of the river to gush towards its destiny. I did reveal to him that at some point of time I had crush on him and we chuckled and laughed it off.

It was time for my re appearing for my October attempt and I had taken exam leave for a month from my company. I went home and was preparing for my exams. One night during dinner, there was a news about Lady Gaga visiting India for her show in New Delhi around 30th October 2011. In an interview she was talking about her album “Born this way” and about LGBT rights. I just casually asked mom, “What do you think about these people?” She was watching this interview and she looked at me in analytical way and said, “What we can say about them? They are also humans like us.” I was bewildered and surprised about her response.

A day went by, I was preparing for my exams, and my sister came to see if I needed any help in preparations. She is my sweetheart. She has always been with me no matter what. She asked is there anything she can do for me. I was at the edge of breaking down, my eyes were red, throat completely dried. I looked in to her eyes and said, “I wanted to tell you something. “She became very concerned about me. I broke into tears and she got emotional and said, “Tell me whatever it is, no matter what I have been and will be there for you.” I said, “Since 12 years I have been hiding half of my identity, I have been living dual lives.” I couldn’t speak any more & gave her my diary. She went through and after few lines and said, “Ajay, I am not able to understand what this is all about. Please, tell me clearly”. I said, ” I am in depression Tai, I was ashamed of myself for being gay. I had decided to commit suicide”.She interrupted me in anger and said,” Why do you want to even think about suicide? Whenever such thoughts come to your mind remember how much efforts and sacrifices Mom and Dad have taken so that you become a better person in this world? How will we siblings feel devastated if such things happen? Ajay, right now I am shocked and not able to understand how to respond. This all thing is new to me and I need time. But you need to focus on studies now.” And we started studying.

Day of exam approached and she came to drop me. As quite obvious, I couldn’t perform well in exam. In between when I was in exams, my sister told mom about me. I came out of exam hall. She had already come to pick me up. She asked me about how was it? I said that I attempted it. Then, she told me that she had told about it to mom. My hands froze, I was numb. I had to encounter her someday. I entered home. She had just finished her bath, hair covered with towel and was doing Pooja. She saw me coming, I was completely tensed. I saw her eyes red. She was reciting some stotra. She didn’t say anything, just went inside in kitchen. After completing her Pooja rituals, she made lunch ready to serve on dining table. I was sitting in hall. She called sister and informed to tell me to come for lunch. While having lunch, I was looking at her she was making sure I am having proper food, but not talking to me. I was calm as I knew she might be shocked and sad. So I decided let that phase pass away. Days went by in similar way. I used to show my sister examples of people like Ricky Martin, who are living a great life in spite of being homosexual. I used to show her video of people who have suffered because of rejections, confessions, how families of some people support their homosexual kids. She used to ask me all sorts of questions that used to bug her. I was open to everything she asked. She once asked me whether if I feel like a girl or transgender. I said I inclined towards being masculine with feminine touch. She took time to understand that. I used to give her to read all FAQs provided on support websites. I used to feel that it would have been better if those articles would have been also published in regional languages. I wanted mom also to go through those.

Two weeks passed by in similar way. Mom still not talking to me but taking care of me. She used to ask my sister all questions that came to her mind. She ask what wrong they as humans had done that they got kid like me? Maybe because of having 2 elder sisters this might have happened.  She was in a situation where she couldn’t even consult anyone about this. One of my uncles is psychologist, she insisted my sister to take me to him. One evening, I was preparing for my last paper of my exam and I wanted to break ice. So usually I and mom share one cute moment together when I do her oil massage on head. She was watching some programme on television. I took oil bottle and started my conversation, first she hesitated. I was just controlling myself from breaking down to cry.  I said, Mom, why aren’t you talking to me? I know you are holding something inside you. I care about you, I don’t want your blood pressure to shoot high. I want you to express what you have in your mind. You want to scold me do it? You want to beat me do it? I would be really happy if you kill me also, anyways I am part of you. I owe my life to you. This is true that I have not talked about it to you. But mom, there was a time when I was ashamed of myself and wanted to leave this world. She just said, “I am not angry upon you. I want you to meet Psychiatrist uncle and get guidance upon this. I would like to know his opinion in this matter. Look, Ajay I care for you a lot. More than you imagine. And I am worried about how will you lead your life with all this without acceptance in our society? As of now, focus on your studies and build you position so strong that no one dare to think of judging you. Become a strong personality and inspiration to many by your good deeds. That’s what I am expecting from you“. I met uncle and as excepted he was supportive and conveyed this to mom.

Days passed and one day I took her for “Ek Madhav Baug” play by Humsafer Trust. That’s when she fully accepted me.

PC: All images linked to their original sources.

In just one single day

Here I present you my worst experience being gay in my college. I did my hotel management from a college in Wayanad district of Kerala. I was one the best student of my class, teachers liked me a lot since I was also a classical dancer of Odissi. Everyone gave me respect. But an incident which took place, spoiled everything in just one single day.

I was in relationship with a guy whom I had met 4 years back, when I was too young for relationship. But I was in love with him, and he was a good person. But one day I came to know that he was the biggest fraud I had ever met. After that breakup I came across a guy whom I had accidentally met and later became good friends with. One day he wanted me to accompany him to Trivandrum and I went along. In the night we took a room and stayed there he kissed me and did some softcore. After few seconds he said he got to reply some messages and he took his mobile and clicked my pictures.

Few days later he asked me for 4000 rupees, since I was a student and I didn’t have. I said I don’t have, then his way of talking changed and started blackmailing with my photos. I was terrified and I paid him 4000 rupees but few days later he asked me for 8000. I really didn’t had and when I refused he said he will publish my photos and since he was working in a telecom company he easily traced out my address and other details. And started threatening me again and again. And when I discussed this with my friend he said “You are unnecessarily taking tension” and asked me to be bold and tell him to go & do whatever he wants. I did the same and then next day changed my life.

I was alone in my hostel room, sleeping it was early morning 5 am and someone started knocking my door. I was sleepy so didn’t open the door, I asked them what they want in the early morning and they replied me to check my Facebook. I found there was nothing special, I saw there was a new friend request from an account which was looking like my own account my name, details and my photo everything was the same. And it was him when I saw it was showing 23 mutual friends and me saw all were my college mate’s senior’s staffs teachers. And his id was uploaded with my nude photos. I felt like killing myself, suddenly more people started knocking my door and I was totally lost. I went and opened the door and all the class mates were there to tease me insult me. I was crying but it didn’t bother anyone, I didn’t talked to them.
Just ran to the stair case and said I am going to end my life. I said goodbye & was standing near the handrail. Was afraid to die but didn’t had another option too. Suddenly my friend who advised me to be bold earlier came to me n said “what are you doing?” my eyes were filled with tears & said I want to die. He said “Why you say you are gay & can’t survive?” He came towards handrail, pulled my hair & slapped me, hugged me and said “kill him rather than killing yourself.”

The moment when I came back to my room, for my class mates I was like an untouchable person; no one talked to me no one sat with me.  No one talked to me. For several days I didn’t have a seat in my college bus. Always being insulted. I got extra duties. No one clapped for my dance programs. Said bad words about me. I faced a lot of insult from my teachers too. Earlier I used to write attendance register and other works but I was stopped from doing all those things since I was gay. Even if I sat somewhere in cafeteria the other group of student will get up & leave. One day I felt like crying and went to the washroom and threw my foods away. All of this was happening because I was gay. Gay gay gay they gave me several names, teased me, harassed me.
Several times I really felt that it was better to commit suicide.

Slowly 6 friends among them understood me and came to me as a good friends. We had our own good times. Slowly I began to understand that I haven’t done any crime to deserve this. I was harassed even by one of my chief, who taught us food production. One day when the class had to submit our log book and we all submitted in which only my log book was not corrected or signed, then I went to him for getting my log book signed. He was sitting with few other teachers and said “Hey, I came to know that you will bend your ass in front of anyone who waves.” I was really shocked and terrified because a person who was a teacher of mine insulted me. Suddenly I replied “Sir if you want me to bend for you don’t need to wave your hands, just give me a miss call” Listening to this he felt embarrassed & insulted. I added “Sir, you are not paying my fees, nor educating me or taking care of my expense or giving me shelter and food so it shouldn’t matter to you whether I bend my ass or not”. I said “You just take care of your child who is just 5 years old”. He was mum.

Listening to this several well-wishers form my college encouraged me that I have guts to speak. They encouraged me to reply back to people who are nasty & hurtful, I listened to them and did just that.

Once we had an extempore speech competition in our quality development class and before like I mentioned I had few best friends and among them, one was a girl. She took the lot and her topic was “Should gay marriage to be legalized or not?” And she asked me to help her to prepare for the speech and I helped her, she asked me my experience and all… And when the debate started it was like she said everything in an opposing way. I felt so hurt & insulted. My madam asked me to counter her arguments, I said my part and made her mouth shut and on that day our friendship ended.

After finishing the speech whole class supported her and I said you are you all clapping? I said “You fools before clapping and encouraging others, you all don’t know that there were 11 boys from my class who asked me for sex date and had sex with me. I will never disclose their names because I have promised them, I will disclose their names one day when I leave this college.”

The whole class started looking at each other, all started to doubt their friends, roommates etc. I lied that I had sex with 11 people in fact I never had sex with anyone in my college but my gutsy dialogue made them confused. And because of that doubt popped among friends several classmates of mine fought with each other doubting each other. But only I know that what I told was just a lie, to divert everyone’s mind.

Final exam came whole class became enemies with each other. I was happy to see that because they spoiled my 3 years and my one single lie spoiled their friendship which they build in 3 years. Everyone dispersed from college like how they were in the first days of the colleges without speaking much with each other. I was happy to see that no one gained anything in return of my tears. Finally those 11 names became an unknown secret to everyone. Till now they are waiting for that. College over classes over and here I finish my long story.

Femininity, Androgyny, and Masculinity: Lili

I had originally intended to write this after I saw the film The Danish Girl about a year and a half ago. It has taken me so long to gather the courage and conviction to write this, because it is not a review of the film, but a window into my own life story. You see… just like Lili, the protagonist of the film, I too have struggled with gender dysphoria, i.e. discomfort due to a mismatch between one’s internal gender identity and the sex assigned at birth. It means that just like her, I was assigned male at birth, but am now transitioning to live as a woman. The film, set in 1920s Europe, shows Lili’s social and then medical transition from male to female as a pioneering example, so it may seem that our similarities end here, but there are still some important parallels in our stories.

JUST LIKE LILI, I WAS ASSIGNED MALE AT BIRTH, BUT AM NOW TRANSITIONING TO LIVE AS A WOMAN.

Like Lili, I am married to a woman, in a relationship marked with mutual respect, playfully questioning societal norms, and most importantly an enduring love for each other beyond our identities. Like her, my true self was so deeply repressed and hidden for so long that I was barely even conscious of it, until I gradually discovered it in adulthood. Like her, I started my transition with small, tentative steps, and then moved with more certainty, gradually gaining confidence along the way. Like her, I have been out in public as my true self in places where I could afford to, mostly when I was around complete strangers or with those who knew about me.

However, being neither fully out nor fully closeted requires a constant balancing act between femininity, androgyny, and masculinity, in terms of clothing, physicality and behaviours, in order to be able to pass as female or male in different scenarios depending on the extent of my dysphoria, where I am going and who I might run into.

Gradually, though, it has stopped being a choice as I am more frequently perceived as female irrespective of what I wear and how I behave. It has been especially difficult in gendered spaces such as security queues and public restrooms when I began to realize that I was no longer credibly ‘passing’ as a man even if I dressed, behaved and sounded like one.

BEING NEITHER FULLY OUT NOR FULLY CLOSETED REQUIRES A CONSTANT BALANCING ACT BETWEEN FEMININITY, ANDROGYNY, AND MASCULINITY.

Like Lili, I have met or heard of several doctors, ranging from those who did not understand my situation or had outdated views on it, to those who have been extremely helpful. To be fair, my personal experience in this regard has been far nicer than is the norm, because I took my time, educated myself, searched for options, and ruled out the unhelpful ones. That’s not always possible for others like me, so far too often they might end up with horror stories.

Also, like Lili, and in fact like most women, I worry about my personal safety around strangers, especially when there is unwanted attention from men. Like her, I too have struggled with drawing the line beyond which such attention stops being validating and becomes dangerous.

However, our stories are not exactly the same. A century ago as shown in the film, the medical process for gender transition itself was experimental, gender roles were much more sharply defined in society, and cases like Lili’s were treated as tragic anomalies. On the other hand, my experience comes at a time when the understanding of gender itself is far more nuanced, when the protocol for medical transition is much more clearly established and standardized, and when awareness about our existence is greater than ever before.

ALSO, LIKE LILI, AND IN FACT LIKE MOST WOMEN, I WORRY ABOUT MY PERSONAL SAFETY AROUND STRANGERS.

There are also several more personal differences. For example, unlike Lili, I have no ambiguity about my sexuality. In fact, my identity as a queer woman is not only relevant to my relationship with my spouse, but it also affected my journey of understanding how my gender identity differed from my orientation. Unlike Lili, I do not consider my profession a reminder of my past life. In fact, I want to stay in my profession and preserve as much of my life as possible even through transition. Unlike her, I did not simply imitate other women in public as I started coming out, but just allowed my natural expression to appear after decades of repression. Like Lili and Gerda, the journey that my spouse and I have shared, especially after my ‘coming out’, has been one of tears and confusion and yet unstinting love and support for each other, but unlike them, it has also been interspersed with a lot of shared joy and beautiful experiences with each other just like before.

Of course, I understand that the film was just a fictionalized account of a more complex story, as the real Lili and Gerda lived for a much longer time together than is shown in the film. My objective in writing this, therefore, is not just to compare the film with my story, but to open a conversation into the complexity of gender transitioning even in this supposedly modern and progressive era. After all, I am not the only one in such a situation, even in India. There are many others like me.

Moreover, the issues mentioned above, such as self-awareness and self-acceptance, relationships, freely expressing oneself, personal safety, medical care, social awareness, professional opportunities, and media representations, all affect most queer people, not just those who are gender variant or questioning. When I question myself which gender I ‘pass’ as better and whether or not I may face trouble on any given day, it is an experience shared not just with other gender variant people, but also with others who express themselves in non-conforming ways, despite stares, comments, questions, threats or even worse.

It is not even a queer issue alone, as gender norms regarding self-expression apply even to cisgender, heterosexual people, placing limits on all of us. When my spouse and I worry about any possible backlash to my transition, its impact on our lives together, and the continued legal status of our relationship, we know it is a question relevant to other queer couples too. More broadly, in fact, the question of what relationships should be socially accepted is relevant even to other couples who defy boundaries of caste, class, religion etc.

IT IS NOT EVEN A QUEER ISSUE ALONE, AS GENDER NORMS REGARDING SELF-EXPRESSION APPLY EVEN TO CISGENDER, HETEROSEXUAL PEOPLE, PLACING LIMITS ON ALL OF US.

We do not know all the answers, but we do know that there is a need to break the silence, to start conversations to show that we exist, that families like ours exist, even if all of us do not fit into neat little boxes with clear labels. After all, what makes someone a man or a woman? What makes someone queer or not? What makes a relationship queer or not? Is one’s identity or the validity of their love or their relationship completely determined by the individuals involved, or do others’ opinions matter? There are no easy answers, but hopefully, breaking the silence will help in figuring some of them out.

 

Re-blogged from feminisminindia

All picture are linked to their sources.

It was happy yet sad ending

Sozz Siddiqui

Things started with the daily pressure from my parents to tell them if I have a girlfriend or not(May be it was their way to do the detective work to get confirmation if their son is different not) but they never got a clear answer from me ever,  which lead to more question and more detective work.

My brother has always doubted me thinking that I am Bi(bisexual) could be because I had more girlfriends rather than boyfriend.

Part I
One fine day after finishing my job and gym I reached home (You will find my sister in the story too as she was visiting me or may be God has sent her to show her his other CREATION). My mom opened the door with a big smile like she is hiding something or was playing some kind of happiness trick on me. While having dinner my mom started questioning me the same thing but this time there was a twist she asked me if I have a boy friend, she consoled me or I must say took me in her confidence while asking that, where she spread the layer of her understanding telling me that she would be fine if I have a boyfriend too. No wonder we love our mom and when mom loves you , you forget all hide and seek games and with that I told her that yes her son is different, by the time I realized it was too late to understand that she just played it well and I lost the game, I could hear the silence the one which really kills you.

Part II

Her face went from white to red and then pale , the first tear started rolling out from her left or right I don’t know may be simultaneously form both the eyes . While she was crying I was just giggling , it was tough for me to decide what emotions I should show , should I cry as my mom was crying or should I smile as I was finally free but I was just smiling and smiling and smiling I couldn’t stop. It was a fantastic feeling to tell her that her son is not what she thinks but is what she was always afraid of(Don’t think that I am a cruel son or she is a cruel mom, she is the best and most loving mom it’s was just tough for her just like it was tough for me). On the other hand my sister started to command me not to speak THAT WORD yes the same word for which I am writing this, as per her understanding just by saying people become like one, yet again don’t hate her for that as there are certain things which even we don’t understand so she has all the rights to express her feeling.

That was the first and last discussion which happened between me and my mom, my father never got involved in this whole process and still he never tried to talk to me about this(May be that is the way all fathers behave.)

Part III

She still loves me and so my sister and my whole family, you might be thinking that it has one happy ending but I would say it was happy yet sad ending as they accepted me the way I am but they never accepted that their son can be different which of course hurts at time but I am fine. I feel like if they would have abandoned me, it would have been much easier for me to handle that but it really kills me to digest that they accepted me and love me but not my thing.

PS: My brother is the coolest brother as he is the only one who accepted me the way I am, he read the books and tried to understand things for me. We still go out together to a coffee shop to checkout(You know what I mean.) we also play game of identifying who is what 😉

I am a third gender

Dhananjay Chauhan Mangalmukhi

I am a transgender, the first transgender student of Punjab University Chandigarh!

I am from a very middle class family where talking about sex is taboo! I was born in Uttarakhand & my birth was reason for double celebration as a boy was born in the family & my father got a government job. I was also blessed by the hijras on my birth, interesting they also could not identity that I am also as special as them, I am a third gender. Soon after my birth my parent shifted to Chandigarh, growing up I realized I was different from other kids. I was shy & bubbly.

Gradually as I grew, a woman inside me started establishing her identity and at the age of 3-4 I used to do the same thing which my mother or other women used to do! It was an instinctive trend that gets a woman from birth too!

When I was 5 years old, I was enrolled in a government school I was always ahead of all the students, whether it is studying, music or dance. The teachers were always happy with me. Everything was going on normal. I still remember when I was 5 years old, according to religious rituals, I had to be shaved because everybody thought I was a man, so it was necessary to cut the hair of my head so many guests came in the house. New clothes were purchased for everyone! Pant-shirt was bought for me too! But when it was showed me, I rejected it at first sight and refused to wear! I wanted a girl frock. My parents explained to me that you are a boy and boys do not wear frock, I did not listen to one of them! I stuck to my point! They finally brought a frock for me!

Many new friendships were getting formed, but there were a lot of girls; it was not that I deliberately made friends with girls, it was a natural process! The girls understood my feelings well and their choice was similar to my choice! The girls who played the game also liked me too! Boys played hockey or football, which I did not like much!

My family and neighbors were very happy because their sons were roaming all day long, they did not even study, but I used to do studies in addition to helping my mother with house chores.

When I was 9-10 years old, I became friends with a boy living in the neighborhood, he was 4-5 years older than me. Slowly we both began to love each other, we were unable to live without each other! I liked to meet him, live together and sleep together! I used to wait for him for hours! When I was 12 years old, natural changes began to come in my body and a tremendous boom of love and attraction started to feel in my mind! When the love of heart and mind turned into physical love, nothing was known! This series continued when I reached 18-19 years of age! And this time my friend got married! He got busy in his family life. The person who loved me for hours spent my time explaining to me that this is not all right and now we have grown up and now we have to think about our life! He said that he has got married, now he will not be able to give me time and if someone knows about this then his family life can end! He easily told me that if you need any other man then he will also arrange for that too! I told him that you have gone crazy! You do not care about my feelings at all! You were with me just for this that your body’s needs were getting fulfilled!

He had spoken to two of his friends about me that they were to continue to have relations with me! For these people, there is no cost of love with a transgender, because there is no end to this love, they feel that it is not the truth of life! People feel like we are a toy made by nature when you want, play and later throw it away!

Since class 4 the male classmates used to make fun of me, they used to spit on me, always used to make fun of me! All men and women begin to be attracted towards their opposite sex from the age of 12, and I also started getting attracted towards men, which is a natural phenomenon! I started worrying about my sexual identity, I did not understand who I am. I am completely a woman from inside. But the texture of the body was quite like a man. My soul and body were not aligned, they were different. And because of this turmoil my academics began to suffer, I barely passed tenth grade. I tried to commit suicide twice but somehow survived!

In the absence of sex education, and knowledge about gender identity & sexuality, we are losing the lives of millions of people.

I concealed my identity and focused on studies, I got the first prize in my Bachelor Degree in 1993 thereafter I got admission in the Master of History department of Punjab University. I faced a lot of bullying from fellow students & had to drop, later I signed up for evening law classes. Some students ragged me and paraded me naked in the whole class room, and made me perform unspeakable task! I also left the law course. Then I took admission in the diploma course in Computer Science! Discrimination continued everywhere, whether it be a college or a university, a job place, a hospital, discrimination everywhere.

I had started thinking that such incidents would continue to happen with me! I decided that now I have to stand for myself and in order to change such thinking in society, I will have to fight! I am a transgender and there is no harm in it! This is my personal matter how I live! What to wear! Which gender I decide to live in! Whom should I like and with whom I live my life! Society cannot determine what will be my gender!

I had started thinking that before going out of this world I would make such an environment for some incoming transgender where there is no discrimination and there is equal rights for everyone in the society! First of all, I started preparing my family for it!

I started engaging with the community & helping them get access to healthcare, worked hard to get the Pride events started in Chandigarh, getting necessary permissions, arranging funds even putting in a lakh from personal saving. It has been a long journey but now I was getting full support from all sides! I’m very proud of myself! In 2009, I joined the first national level seminar organized by the Foundation in collaboration with the UNDP in New Delhi! This seminar proved to be a milestone for me. From 2010 to 2015, I joined every training session on behalf of the Chandigarh State AIDS Society and got information about AIDS. In 2012, I joined the Red Ribbon Tran Campaign, which went to town and gave information about AIDS to every railway station. From this I got information about AIDS and all the incurable diseases. I was made a Master Trainer on behalf of NACO and India HIV AIDS Alliance, I have been training the health workers of AIDS in many states of India.

In 2016, I joined the Department of Human Rights as a transgender at the University of Punjab! I passed every entrance exam with very good points and I did not need any reservation because my points were very good. I am proud to be the first transgender student of Punjab University but I have responsibilities towards many transgender community too! I am related to the Raikee family of the Kinnar society and my master is Kajal Mangalakumi! My guru gave me a lot! Standing with me in every happiness and sorrow!

Today, when I look back over the past years in which I had to endure grief and discrimination! When I think about the atrocities I suffered, I pray to God that God should not show anyone such a days as I have witnessed!

We do not want sympathy, we need acceptance!

Every day is battle

Anonymous

Yes I didn’t come out to my parents but my surrounding society made them know about my sexuality. Yes I am Muslim and queer. I am proud of my sexuality, of being a 21 year old Bangalore based gay guy, and I am doing my graduation in well-known college of the city. Being a Muslim I never felt uncomfortable about my sexuality. We are 4 members cute family, my mom dad and my sister who is 7 years younger to me. Being queer even I faced sexual abuse, harassment and blackmail during my childhood. In my childhood I thought I was only person in this universe who is attracted to same gender. My first abusive experience was with my own cousin brother, I was in just 8th grade at that time. Later my school senior when I was in 9th grade who abused me couple of times.

My mom was from rural area, she was 37 year when I was 20 and she was suffering my major cardiac problem called as Dilated Right Atrium. Only one side of her heart was working, I took her to all major hospitals in Bangalore and cardiac surgeons.

I felt alone and depressed. To find company I went to dating sites to overcome the sadness, I was around 20 then. I met many guys through dating apps, it was going on well. In the other hand I was the only one taking care of my mom, my dad and my sister never bothered. At my age every one love to explore their life and express themselves, so I was bit open to social networks such as Facebook and Instagram about my sexuality. I had great followings. I was active in events and parties. Another truth is that girls love gays and I had many girls following from my college and my neighborhood too.

I don’t know why I was in depression. Was that due to my sexuality or my problems at home? I was not able to bare my mental trauma, all my days were filled with tears. Every night my pillow and bed knows how many emotions I was hiding inside me. I was not able to withstand it. I had questions “Should I come out to my mom?” But I was not able because she was not healthy and she may get heart attack if she hears about my life because I was the only son for them. But the day came it was January 17 /2017 night my mom expired leaving me alone. I can’t forget that day how it was, I can’t explain it in any words. At last even I was not even able to express my sexuality and reality to my mom. My aunty took my sister because she was young and needed attentions. I was alone at home. My father was working from early morning and coming back by night 10pm. I totally house arrested myself for a month, none of my neighbors or relatives came to meet me.

I myself want to meet a psychiatrist, I was not well. No sleep at night always crying and thoughts of suicide. My psychiatrist was very supportive to me, even though I went to a government hospital. She was the only doctor I meet until now, who was open to hear about my all problems

My neighbors and relatives were always speaking about my pictures on social media and many raised question if I am in gay. The rumor went into my father’s ears. I was studying for my final year exams, he came into my room just cried a lot, and I was today confused about what was happening.

All my relatives showed my picture & videos of my social media, which was bit girlish. My dad abused me so much with his words I was not able to bare them. But I thanked God because someone helped me to come out my dad. He house arrested me, morning from 9-4 college, at 4.40 evening I was to reach home. He was looking in my room, checking my phone; he was drunk and started abusing me and scolding as “hijra chakka ..gay” and all even my neighbors stared speaking that I am hi-tech gay. Not only neighbors, even my sister who is 7 years younger than me started scolding me. She acted like spy on me, she was carrying all information of mine to dad. My dad is blackmailing me if I go out or post any picture on social media he himself will commit suicide and write my name in letter.

I have hope that one day my family and neighboring society will understand me. I hope that day is very near, this typical Muslim family will understand me and bring my smile back on my face.

I know my mom’s soul have understand the emotional burden I am hiding in me, I know she has accepted me from heaven I can even feel her warm hug!