She is a design management graduate from Maharashtra; she is Sanya and she’s transforming into a transsexual. She left her family who refused to come to terms with this and is now struggling to make ends meet.
We caught up with her in a candid conversation where she shared her personal experiences in life…
“Being a ‘Rajput’ guy, my family wanted their ‘son’ to be an MBA graduate but fashion and design was my career passion. So, I decided to do design management because I identified with this in a way. After completing the degree, I dropped the bomb on my family and told them that ‘I am transitioning’,” she exclaims.
“This is not what I am. I have decided to be a girl because I feel like one.
“They had their excuses of not giving an ear to my thoughts. They even tried convincing me but since I was adamant and sure enough of my transition, they stopped talking to me.”
Sanya is still transitioning. But to transform physically from a male to a female is an uphill drive for her. “I am quite done with social transitioning but I require about 8-10 lakhs to transition physically from a boy to a girl. Since my family is not supportive on this and provide me with financial aid to get it done in Thailand, the expenses will go upto around 20 lakhs to conduct this without the support of my family.
It takes a lot of money to hire lawyers and get a certificate from different psychiatrists stating that they are medically and psychologically convinced that you have a gender dysphoria as a condition; psychologically you are of a different gender, you have lived as a woman for at least two years before transitioning. Furthermore it will state that you are not undergoing the transformation under any kind of pressure and you are psychologically fit to take this decision.
“This is because after my surgery, I will be catheterised, thus restricting my ability to stand. Given the complexity, I will need constant nursing. Also, I won’t be able to handle all the financial transactions soon after the surgery. Trusting strangers with this kind of money will be difficult. I would be in great trouble if someone runs away with all that money, while I am lying in the hospital.
“Also, it is very difficult in India, to get one’s name and gender changed on documents,” she adds.
“When people realise that you are in need, they start demanding money in the name of multiple visits, even if they are fully convinced.
In such cases, most transgender are reluctant to go to a psychiatrist for certification and the Government in Maharashtra doesn’t offer any help with this procedure like in other states like Tamil Nadu.
Government of Tamil Nadu has provided ration cards and opportunity to change sex without any fee with the help of surgery at the Government General Hospital.
Sharing some anecdotes from her life after socially transitioning, she says,“When you are socially transitioning and your documents don’t match your current identity, it is worst. Currently, my certificates say that I am a boy.
“Hence I do all my transaction this way, but when people don’t think of me as a male, this puts me in a spot. They even accuse me for carrying a fake ID card.
“When I recently went to link my aadhar number to my mobile phone, the girl at the counter asked me who the person in the aadhar card was, though the card was mine.
“Similarly I have issues while visiting a bank, booking tickets or even at places with high security. The tough part is that while some understand my situation, most others don’t.
“It also calls for unwanted attention out there. I have also experienced exploitation at work places. People have also stopped me from entering their offices, to events and other places purely because I am a trangender.
“They want to unnecessarily trouble us, and this kills me,” she adds.
Like some people are right and left handed, similarly being a transgender is actually a condition not a disease. This is a condition that can be managed, but can’t be cured. Some people are gender fluid; they feel both the genders in one body.
Sanya currently makes and sells handmade jewellery, bags, clothes and artefacts door-to-door to meet her daily expenses. But the society isn’t acceptable enough to let her live her life on her terms.
“When my supplier came to know that I am a trangender, he stopped providing goods to me. I was giving him business, still he denied. My plans were all ruined. They didn’t even bother communicating to me.
“There is a larger problem in sourcing material versus me selling my finished products.”
Talking us through the way the society treats her and her likes, she shares, “If you are able to pass as a girl outwardly, people aren’t really concerned. The moment people realise that you are a transgender, life is difficult. You feel like a celebrity as everyone stares at you.
The moment you fail at passing off as a woman, people start treating you like an ‘object’ or a clown at a circus.
“Initially for me it was tough, but I started taking it positively. I told myself that if this is going to happens to me, let me believe I am a celebrity.
“Also, most of the transgenders go through a financial crisis since their families are rarely supportive enough. When I don’t have enough food to survive through the day, I assume that like every celeb. I was also on a diet !
“Being positive have definitely helped to survive the inappropriate and unfair treatment from the society. Coming to terms with my problems in this positive manner has kept me from suicidal tendencies” she signs off, with a positive smile.
#Name of the respondent changed to protect her individual privacy.
Reach her at email@example.com or tweet @KaurKaur18
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