Rajaratnam’s Story, who hails from Hubli, Karnataka, India”
“I have seven brothers and a sister and come from a educated family. I had feminine characteristics from the age of 6-7 years. My mother allowed me to join a classical dance classes and helped me cope with my brothers’ teasing. I always wondered why I was being subjected to this. I loved seeing myself in sarees than in pants and shirts. I always thought about myself as a woman. My brothers used to scold me whenever I tried on my sisters clothes. But my mother never viewed it in a negative way and tried to settle the matter. I felt bad listening to all the teasing. They made fun of my dressing, walking and talking style, and wondered if there was something wrong with me. This also affected my studies. I felt lonely most of the times. I also felt weird when my friends told me about their love stories and wondered where my attraction lay. I felt scared to go to school after a point, because I couldn’t face the taunts of my classmate. When I was in 3rd std, I had a crush on my senior who was very supportive and cared for me. I was even more surprised when he gave me a love letter and told me he likes me. We spent our lunch breaks together and for almost 10years we were together. I decided to change myself in my PUC, and made myself strong against the jeering of society. I controlled myself and didn’t show my true self to anyone. I fell in love with a guy while doing my masters degree. I met my community member when I was posted for my job. I saw a man going into an abandoned building, whom I followed and saw him having sex with another man. I was so happy that I had found someone like myself and soon through him I met other people. I finally came out of my shell and lived like my true self. I was scared if my office would terminate me, if they got to know that I’m gay. Some of my colleagues tried to molest me during parties after they got drunk. So I soon, stopped mingling with them. Marriage was never brought up for me as my mother passed away and there was a lot of time gap. When it finally came, I strongly refused and said that I am not interested and there is no need to question me as it is personal. I resigned from my bank when I got to know about the institutions for people like me and told my dad that I wanted to work for sexual minorities. I joined Sangama as a committee organizer. The NGOs main interests were to protect our interests and work for awareness of the rights of the community members, which included Transgender, Gays, Bisexuals, Male and Female sex workers and others. We also try to remove the discrimination against sexual minorities with HIV, as they endure double discrimination even in hospitals. We also try to get Identification cards and social entitlements to minorities”.
Transcribed by Ashwini Raj
Listen to the story here