“I was born feminine, but I was confused because I didn’t have a vagina. I was attracted to males and thought of myself as a woman, but I was male. During my childhood, we didn’t have access to television or the internet to learn things about this, so the question “who am I?” always bothered me. In fourth grade, my dad took me to the doctor and asked them why his child is behaving like this. During my birth and while checking my genitals, the doctors had labelled me as a boy. I thought to myself, “Okay, according to them I am a boy, let them enjoy, but my mind and my soul is a female. They can’t change that even if they gave me the shock treatment.”
I was very lucky. I had very good friends in school and college and I am still in touch with my teachers. I was never treated as someone different, but then again most of my friends were also from the LGBT community. At the time I was the first transgender in Pune who was living with her parents. Whenever I went to the gay community, I used to wear hot shorts and high heels and I colored my hair and one day my friend told to dress normally. I didn’t know what she meant because I was behaving perfectly normally for who I am. So I went to my tuition teacher and asked her if I was really abnormal. She told me that it’s not me who is abnormal, but the world. She asked me what I liked and I told her I want to complete my education and I want to dance and I used to teach dance to children, too. I enjoy my feminity, I wake up every day, look in the mirror and tell myself, “You’re a diva.”
I loved the culture of the red light area and was always drawn to it, they dress so well and their make up is so amazing! But my guru advised me to concentrate on my studies and not get into prostitution. I completed my post graduation in fine arts and started modeling and then got into the NGO world. But not everyone is so fortunate. We are still fighting for jobs and basic rights. Men are scared of transgenders. Is the gender important or the work? I have suggested officials employ us as security guards in trains, schools, colleges, the IT sector- women will be safe and we will get employed. Train us to be nursery teachers, we will go and teach and the awareness about the LGBTQ community among kids will also increase. They think we are dangerous, they think we are threats. I ask them, “Show me one transgender terrorist or rapist, you can find.” We just want to be loved and accepted.
There are a lot of NGOs that do good work for the transgender community, but it has always been confined to four walls. This is the first time the issue is out on the streets and public places for everyone to see. We want to change peoples’ perspective about us, or at least give them a new one. We aren’t aliens, we are born from wombs, too. That’s what Aravani Art Project is trying to achieve- awareness and acceptance for a community that people are hesitant to include.”
The Aravani Art Project aims to create a space within the mainstream for the Transgender community by engaging them into Public Art and interventions. You can check the beautiful mural they have created if you visit Kasba Peth Post Office.
Story By – Humans of Pune
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