“My Education Is Worthless, Everyone Asks Whether I Am Male Or Female,” Says Kolkata Trans-Woman Teacher
“Our life is full of challenges, people listen to us, but they do nothing for us,” says Suchitra Dey, a trans woman who hails from Kolkata.
Last year Suchita, previously named Hiranmay Dey underwent a sex-reassignment surgery (SRS) in Delhi. While speaking to The Logical Indian, she says that she was hopeful of a better future after her operation. Unfortunately, in very little time she was confronted with the ugly truth of our society.
She said, “when people look at me they don’t want to know how am I as a person, all they care to know is about my private parts.”
Suchita is a teacher and the sole breadwinner of her family. Recently, the 30-year-old applied to a couple of schools for a new job with her double M.A degree in English and geography. To her surprise, she was ridiculed in interviews by many of the school authorities.
“Rather than asking me pertinent questions about my qualification. A principal asked me if I have real breasts or if I can give birth to a baby. In some other interview, they asked the kind of clothes I will wear if given a job but never offered me a job,” said Suchita over a telephonic conservation with The Logical Indian.
“They have questioned my mannerism and even my credentials. After all this, I feel my education is worthless, all it matters to them is, whether I am a male or a female,” Dey added.
Buried under the burden of harassment, Suchita says that she is subjected to all this mockery and humiliation just because she is a trans- woman. She says most of the interviewers do not want to see a talented teacher in her, all they can see is a man who has a different sexual orientation, a sight quite disturbing for them.
Citing the 2014 Supreme Court order that officially recognised transgenders by making the ‘third gender’ category, she said, “What is the point of such order if the people are still denied job on the basis of their gender or sexuality?”
She has written a complaint to the West Bengal Human Rights Commission (WBHRC), which she submitted on June 11, seeking their intervention in the matter.
Her early life
Suchitra lost her father at an early age and now lives with her old mother in Thakurpukur area, Kolkata. While talking about her transformation journey she says that at a very tender age she started recognising herself as a woman. She always felt more like a woman than a man but she feared the society then. Suchita has claimed that she has been a victim of sexual harassment as well. “When I was a man they harassed me for having feminine characteristics, and now they harass me for not having the masculine characteristics,” said Dey, who is also an active member of LGBT forum in Kolkata.
When asked about her future endeavours, she says I just want people to respect us. “I don’t think anybody will ever want to marry me, but at least don’t shame me or ‘my people’ for their gender,” said Suchita with a disheartened voice.
Soldier of her battle
With 10 years of teaching experience, Suchita likes to be around children. She says that children are nice, if you give then love they will love you back, but the sick mentality of even the educated adults will not change. Emphasising on the needs to generate jobs for the transgender community, she says, “I feel hurt when I see transgender begging on the road and getting insulted by the people. There is nobody to give them jobs. What else will they do?”
Suchita is not the only one who is suffering and is denied of her basic rights. There have been many cases of mistreatment that transpersons have to suffer. In February 2018, Shanavi Ponnusamy, a trans woman from Tamil Nadu, wrote to President Ram Nath Kovind, seeking mercy killing. After repeatedly applying to Air India, she alleged that the airline refused to give her a job because she belongs to the third gender, as reported The Indian Express.
The Logical Indian take
Even after the apex court had declared that those belonging to the transgender community would be allowed admission in educational institutions and they could also seek jobs under the category, the community is humiliated and harassed as before. Awareness and education are supposed to ameliorate the situation but if even the educated people in the education sector are treating a qualified job-seeker like an object, then what to do. There are more people like Suchitra Dey who have to undergo similar kind of embarrassment just because they are trying to live their lives with dignity.