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Priya was a very friendly and very support person who answered all the question to help to meet the objectives. So, we first start of building rapport where she discussed about her childhood and first time, she started feeling a woman.
She started off by saying that it's the most beautiful awareness she got from her body and nothing like it when she realized that she could name and match her identity with what she was feeling. She comes from a joint family and she had 2 sisters and she was the only boy who her parents had. During the age of 9 years only she found her self being very found of all her sisters' things(Dolls And kitchen set and bangles) and started to play with girls all the time.
At that point of time she was in 4th std when in school she loved sitting with girls and going out with girls in break. She said as it was her village in which even boys speaking to girls was not so well appreciated but still, she managed to be around her girlfriends. Later during one of the incidents she got scolding at home for being a boy and behaving like a girl all the time. That was the day she cried a lot and did not realize what was happening to her. She said it was so difficult for to even understand what her body is feeling and the way she was feeling where completely two different things. She even loved taking part in school performances as girl. Her favourite part was to wear jewellery and especially bangles and fight with girls as though she's a girl. And when she finally went and told her mom that she feels like a girl and finds herself like her sisters her mother gave her a bath and performed some rituals on her. Then she started to believe may be there was really Something wrong with her and stayed with all her desired kept as secret and lived till she was couldn't bear anymore planned to run and come away from her village with one of her neighbour without telling her parents(She mentioned she finished her 10th by then)she was really trying hard to find help for herself and asking people what she was feeling and undergoing. After coming here, she met few people on the streets who some what she felt like she could relate to that's when they took her with them to show the place and people who are from a different community. She mentioned she met Akkai Padmashali who helped her transform herself completely who believed in her and let her have dreams and aspire them. She felt absolutely blessed to have met her who helped her heal her wounded identity and life. When asked she mentioned about how many people are there in the trust, she said there are more than 80 transgender and that there are many groups in different part of the India.
She said most of the time because people always judge them even without knowing about them or having knowledge about the. There are lot of misconceptions and stereotypes and hatred about the transgender women. But most of the time the biggest misconception by people is that who choose and try to become one of the transgenders but because they want to become straight. But the truth is transgender women are people who have assigned male at birth and who knows their internal senses are female and they have feminine feelings. She said most of the time people portray transgender women as mentally ill or having sexual issues, but they are all misconceptions. She says that it was the same case back at her home to and when she went back to meet her parents after 3 years, they denied to even accept her and so now she lives in the same community with her people who understand her better and support her decisions and let her be herself. Asking about her surgery she said that they do undergo some hormonal replacement surgery which is very costly in India and that its very difficult to strive appointment with endocrinologist for this surgery but in their trust few of the women has taken up surgeries and they have many tablets to help them. Though she did not mention much about whether she has undergone a surgery she just happen to say only that she had any idea about it.In mid of the conversation when asked how she speaks English so fluently and even Hindi she said because the trust has many activities for their community members starting from speaking English classes to learning cooking, karate and many more of these activities which helps them empower themselves and that which helps them take up[ jobs for the betterment of future as well for running the community and trust in various activities and direction. When asked about who takes these classes, she said it's from there educated community members who teach them or few of the out sourced people come and help them learn. She mentioned how few of the member from there community are beauticians, vendors, work in kitchens of restaurants for washing and cleaning purpose but they most of them work either as beggars as that is on of the high job profession or work as prostitutes. She mentioned that it's very difficult for them to get job even if they are highly educated just because of their identity. It took her a lot to open and tell me that people even get abused in all kind of ways and each day at least one person who have faced some kind or the other abuse. But most of the time it ends up being sexual abuse. She even said that its even more easy to identify that we are transgender women than living with this fact because its very difficult to live in a society where nobody wants to understand them or even help them grow to reach the potential have and deserve.
One of the best experiences of the life where I go to have a view into the world of transgender's to be how a transgender woman feels. To understand and to know them is a boon. I had lot of misconceptions before the interview. I literally practised all my interview questions almost 3-4 times to I should sound arrogant or hurt their feelings but the way the interview went was beyond my imagination as well my expectation got insight into minute to maximized of view of there world. There were lot of instances and times during the interview were it so difficult to process what they must be undergoing on day to day basis. She just spoke for 45- 1 hr, but the amount of information and knowledge I gained through this personal experience can no where be close to understanding and reading through articles or papers. There few places where I could not stop but empathize and got a little emotional during few aspects of the interview. She was extremely friendly as well welcoming to not only help me respond to what I was asking but generous enough to give insight into new aspects or in other way unknow aspects and perspectives of there world.
Though there was a little resistance from my side initially when the interview started what to ask, how to ask so that I don't hurt her, or so that she doesn't feel judgemental. But as the conversation moved forward, I realized it was more than just an interview it was more like to people trying to bond over few unknowing elements from a new world that she introduced me too. She got a little emotional mid of the interview while taking about her past and how difficult it was to even get through and be where she is now. She was kind enough to go on telling me few of her personal incidents that gave me a broader view of what she is exactly trying say. This experience has been an eye open to understand lot more than just the social views/Misconception and stereotypes put up by the society.
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