Mounada Mathu : A special series on Stigma & Discrimination against LGBT communities- Episode 6

Rakshitha’s Story | Bangalore

The opening Scene
Raghu’s mom calls out to him and asks him to watch over the house while she runs an errand to the nearby shop. Raghu agrees immediately to which his mom remarks by saying that there is definitely something wrong with him as he never goes out to play with boys his age. Saying this she leaves and Raghu breathes a sigh of relief as he gets to wear his mom’s sari and her make-up, without anybody’s opposition. He chooses a sari from his mom’s wardrobe and drapes himself up. He looks in the mirror and admires himself. He then opens his mom’s make-up kit and starts applying make-up and dressing up. When his mom returns she finds the main door open and starts looking for Raghu and finds him in front of the mirror in a sari. She is dumb-struck and is speechless. Raghu’s dad finds Raghu and is also very angry. He scolds his son and blames his wife for their son’s behavior. Raghu’s mom starts hitting him and warns him not to repeat such acts. Raghu’s friends tease him for socializing more with girls and wearing make-up. In Raghu’s school, there is a grand celebration being planned for Republic Day. Teacher asks students to participate and the teacher refuses to put Raghu’s name in the play. When Raghu says that he will join Radha, the teacher refuses and says that any team that he joins will be spoilt. He also adds that if he learns to act like a boy then he would be allowed to participate.

My name is Rakshitha and I am a male to female transgender. I started realizing the feminine feelings in me when I was in class 8th. I never mingled with boys and always preferred the company of girls and sat with them in class. But I always questioned myself if I was a boy or a girl? I never had the opportunity to express myself with the family. I never paid much heed to my family’s taunts. In school, even though I wanted to study I had to face a lot of teasing and taunting because of my dressing style and mannerisms and I eventually had to drop out. I was called many names. I was never allowed to participate in cultural activities. When I questioned such practices, I was asked to bring my parents and finally the professor also started abusing me in front of all my classmates which embarrassed me so much that I discontinued my studies in my final year B.A., my parents not knowing the reason tried to send me back to college, after which I ran away for 8 months. When I returned I told my father my feminine feelings. Initially reluctant he finally agreed to support me provided that I don’t get into sex work. I joined an NGO called Samara where I worked part-time. In the mainstream field, I’ve attended 31 interviews but was unsuccessful. They give various reasons saying that we are lazy and never work etc. we are denied basic healthcare too when we face a lot of discrimination and teasing both in private and government hospitals. In public places like temples too, we face a lot of finger-pointing and name-calling. Once, when I tried entering the Cubbon Park, the security guard abused me and asked me to leave, even though it was a public place. When I complained to the police about this, they refused to acknowledge me as a woman and treated me, spoke to me like a man which is very demeaning. Be it travelling in buses or finding a house to live, we often face a lot of discrimination and stigma, which can be eliminated only by education and sensitization.

Transcribed by Ashwini Raj



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