“ I came out to my father when I was 13. I went to see a counselor, lied that I was with a friend and that same friend called home! When my father asked me, I told him it was because I felt like I was never meant to be a boy.
He said it was a phase and I continued to live with the weight of my truth. I tried to put my real self into a box and forget about it. But I reached a breaking point. At 16, I stole money and ran away. As the train pulled away, the reality of the situation dawned on me.
From Delhi, I called home and consoled my crying mother. The next morning, my father came to take me back. After a long silence, he asked in a shaky voice, ‘What did we do wrong?’ I’ve never felt worse. I decided that day that I’d make something of myself – for my parents. I wanted to make films, but now, I had to make sure I was ‘settled’, so I applied to engineering colleges.
That’s where I heard the word ‘transsexual.’ It just fit- I found an identity. But I felt that changing my biological sex could never be a reality. I was frustrated and I fell into depression. I had 2 dreams in my life – films and becoming a woman and both seemed distant.
It took me 2 years to decide to go to a film school. There, I made a documentary on the transgender community and sex reassignment, that won awards. When my father saw it, he turned to me and asked ‘so when are you doing it?’ I still remember that moment.
When I started my treatment in Bombay, it was tough. I was harassed on the streets everyday. I stayed strong when my father called, but once, I broke down. He ordered me to come home and continue my treatment.
At home, I was afraid of what people would say and I’d never go out. I looked androgynous because of the hormones. But one day, my mother told me that my parents had told all our neighbours about my new name and my new identity and that they must address me that way. It took time but I felt like that little box from my childhood had opened. I’m still coloured with mild depression. It’s been a long journey and I have a long way to go. I spent so many years finding something that defined me. And now that I’ve finally found it – I feel at home.
Most of all, I’m so grateful to have a family that stands by me in ways I hadn’t even imagined. My parents have been my pillars. My father says that he always wanted a girl and now that’s exactly who I am…daddy’s little girl.
Reproduced from Humans of Bombay.