I was judged by society since my childhood. I was born in a male body, but my soul was always female. When I first tried to talk about it to my parents, they took me to a 'Tantrik' and performed black magic to take the evil out of me. I was tortured and beaten mercilessly until I gave in and agreed to act masculine. I was in the right gender but in the wrong world.
Taking advantage of my body, my cousins and uncles used to harass me sexually whenever they visited us. I suffered from gender dysphoria and had zero interest in my studies.
However, with time I decided to move on and took admission into the university. The situation was no better there. I was ragged and constantly bullied, and even subjected to an attempt to rape. Eventually, I decided to drop my studies and run away from there.
'I Was Gang-Raped Twice'
But it was in 2002 that my world went upside down. One day, after meeting some friends from the trans community, I was heading toward home. Suddenly, a guy came and offered me a lift. After much insistence, I agreed to sit in his car. When I requested him to drop me at my place, he placed a gun on my back and asked me to follow his instructions. "Humko pata hai tum 'Hijre' ho, aaj humey bhi khush kardo," he said. He took me to an unknown location where 20 people gang-raped me for the whole night.
Shivering with fear, I boarded a public bus to Chandigarh the following day but had no money to pay the bus conductor. Taking advantage of my situation, he sat beside me and started rubbing my hands into his thighs. Tears were rolling down my eyes. When I could no longer bear it, I somehow managed to trick him and ran away.
I tried to file a complaint, but nobody believed me. I went into severe depression and tried to commit suicide multiple times.
Then, in 2004, while working for a furniture company, I met a person and instantly became good friends. He called one day and invited me over for dinner at his home. As I entered his house, seven men were already sitting there in a complete drunk state. I tried to escape, but someone had already locked the door from outside. They tore my clothes, tied me up and started raping me one by one. In the meantime, one more guy came at last and started raping me brutally. After he was done, he took me to the bathroom and urinated on me.
Setting An Example For Transgender Community
Instead of giving up, I decided to prove myself by setting an example for the whole LGBTQ community. I started an NGO named Saksham Trust with the aim to protect the rights of trans people in Punjab. Later, I also contributed to the landmark NALSA judgement.
In 2015, I wrote a letter to the Panjab University Vice-Chancellor asking which washroom to use, male or female? Within a few days, he replied, saying that a 23 lakh budget had been passed to construct toilets for the trans community. I also encouraged them to attend colleges and fought to make education free of cost for them. During this period, I converted all the documents from male to transgender.
During COVID-19, I even found love in Rudra Pratap Singh-a transman. We started living together and completed each other. But I still missed having a family until one of my childhood friends introduced me to the elderly couple Dalbara Singh and Shamsher Kaur, who offered Rudra and me to move with them.
The trans community doesn't need special rights, we just need acceptance. When people tease me by saying I look different, I also give it back to them by saying, 'you look the same and ordinary'. Different is not wrong but unique and special.
I am contended with my life now and I feel proud that I have contributed to the well-being of others in my community in one way or the other.
If you, too, have an inspiring story to tell the world, send us your story at firstname.lastname@example.org