Bhavyashree Chivukula :
My blessing is a boon to you, but my birth is a bane. My name is Mohini Sutradhar. I am a transgender. I am the KINNAR well known as the manifestation of Maa Lakshmi, welcomed to your house when a baby is born, to shower my blessings. Supposedly your baby turns out to be a Kinnar, you don’t seem to count it as a blessing, you count it as a bane. Why?
I have a message for a section of the society today. It’s been 15 years to the day I left my family because I didn’t belong to them, the daughter or the son, I wasn’t either of them.
15 Years Ago- At home, I would see my mother weep every night and I knew I was the reason. She often took me to the temple and discussed certain issues with the pujari, spending a lot of money on some pujas we often had at home for my ‘recovery’. My father would curse me every day and not just me; he’d blame himself for my birth. I still remember he used to say “You are a curse to my living”. He used to slap me and beat me up every other day. I wanted to end my life back then, but thankfully I didn’t. I knew, they had only one child and even when that child turns out to be genderless, I felt like a bane to my family.
At school, I had no friends. I would often try to fit in any of the groups of male or female and behave like them, but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t. The boys from my class would take me to the toilet and molest me and sometimes they even beat me up when I stopped them from touching my body. I remember there was a day when a group of five boys came one by one to intimate and abuse me in every possible way. I knew I was getting harassed, but whom could I have ever told? I changed my school every six months to fit in, either with the girls, or the boys. I wanted somewhere that I could connect, but before connecting with somebody you initially need acceptance and none of them ever accepted me as one of them. Most of the teachers, the principal, everyone always avoided me.
There were times when I would lock the room from inside and try to behave like a girl, but it did not helped. Maybe I could have shaved away my beard, but for how long? I always looked like a boy who behaved like a girl. But the truth is I wasn’t either of them. I was dying every day because of the trauma building up inside me, I wanted to speak up, wanted people to hear me speak and respect me, but I couldn’t change anything. I couldn’t eat, sleep or smile. I didn’t have a reason to smile. One of the hardest things is to accept oneself, when nobody else does.
You know how hard the battle is, when you are the only one fighting with it. It worsens when you have nobody by your side.It was the first time when I raised my voice, then my father threatened to kill himself. I left my family that night. I took shelter in a railway station where I didn’t have any choice but to think of how to earn a living. The next day I bumped into a group of kinnars who seemed to understand who I was, and for the first time in my life I felt safe with people who would not judge me by my body type. In them, I could see who I had been deep inside. I could be me.
15 years later,I realised that each one here had different stories to offer, and we all were HEROES in some way. Being born this way wasn’t our choice or destiny, it was a gift.
It amazes me sometimes when I see how far we have come through in time, people want to see themselves doing the best in their lives, be it having the latest gadgets, electronics or going on a world tour. One is ready to accept a paralyzed body, or a cancer patient as fate or sympathy and wants to find a cure, but a family isn’t ready to accept the birth of a third sex. I don’t know why transgender is stated as a deformity in the minds of people. You could have been me. How small is the mindset, the same group of people who use the term ‘Chhakka’, ‘Hijira’ to abuse someone, are the ones who fear my curse and want to be blessed in the train.
The law has accepted us as a third sex and there are changes in the legal system for the Kinnar group. Law is too small a subject, the dirt cannot be removed in the books of law, till it survives in your soul. If merely the education could change the value system, the world would have been a better place.
* Chivukula Bhavyashree is young Journalist and student of Law based in Guwahati, India)