A Hijra in the family : Coming out as genderqueer to parents.

I was just another boy wanting to be a girl. Now, I’ll be just another boy. I have not complained, nor do I complain now. I only tell a tale, for that’s all I’ve got. A tale, some could relate to.

This is for everyone who sees the queer movement as a superficial rich kid’s tantrum. I hail from a deeply religious middle class family with strong roots in a place known for its gender based crimes.

One of these days if I stopped existing the world wouldn’t know but I don’t want to be just another lgbt person. I don’t want to be just another statistic, just another note. I want to see the light, I want to be able to  hope but I don’t know where to look for hope, where to find it.

There was someone who told me, that maybe I should get my career sorted and become financially stable and then my parents would agree to let me transition. But I already know the answer to what will happen if I’d propose transitioning then – the same thing that has already happened, day after day, over and over again.  I will be told to pick between family’s honor and my freedom.

If anyone tells me that it’s a fair price or that transitioning is not as important I just have one thing to say – Fuck you! You can’t decide what’s important or not for me. I ain’t a fool for putting everything I have on the line, just to transition, if it weren’t that important. For those of you who tell me that I must do what I gotta do, ask yourselves if you’d do what you must do, so easily and readily if you knew the price for it was being without a family.

Ever since I started to dream and imagine, I wanted to be a girl and now that my worst fears have come true, one by one: I failed to pay the unbearable price for transitioning. Finally, when it began to sink in what this really means- I stopped living. I was alive because the girl inside me was alive, I was fun, frolic, confident and everything that anyone knew me for, because inside me, she lived, and the day I was asked to kill her, I died.

For those of you, who would argue, that this is just another obstacle in the road to being a girl, I can only tell you that I am too tired to fight.

I wish I could explain to you what it means to blindly trust your parents, only to realize that the injection you had been administered as part of a general checkup was testosterone. I wish I could relate to you how it felt, watching rapid changes take place on the battlefield my body had become, only to feel sudden understanding whip at me. I wish I could explain why complaining was not only futile, but something I couldn’t do, because I knew my parents were just doing what they considered ‘right’.

I wish I could explain the pain of seeing your parents cry. I wish I could explain to you the fear of being the reason for your father’s heart attack.  I wish I could explain how it feels, when your family takes you to a sexologist, albeit with absolutely honest and concerned intentions because you failed to explain to them you’re not a disease. I wish I could explain to you what it feels to be the reason for the countless hours and tireless efforts your ageing parents put into prayers just so that you can be ‘okay’ and they continue to pray multiple times a day that this phase ends soon. I wish you knew what it feels like being such a disease, such a phase of misfortune. I wish I could explain what it means to have stomped over the desires of a father to see his son, man up, because no matter how hard you try you cannot man up. I wish I could explain what it feels to be the reason for your family’s despair. I wish I could explain what it feels like being a shame to everyone around you, being the reason for frantic calls, being the reason for concern. I wish I could explain what it means to be told, that if I do what I must, then I’d walk to my freedom by stepping over the graves of a broken family.

I wish I could explain to you how hard it is to smile and say I’m fine, when your concerned mother asks you if anything is wrong, because your face clearly shows everything is not fine and while you say you’re fine, all you want to do is howl and cry but you smile, and while you’re smiling all day long you’re holding back from breaking down, and while you smile again and say I’m fine- over and over again to everyone around you who wants to know what’s happening with your life, all you want to do is bang your head against the wall so hard, when you’re in the kitchen the knife looks tempting; when you want to hurt yourself, not because you want to kill yourself but because you want to prove a point, you want to prove a point to people you love, that you do care about them and then you realize that harming yourself won’t prove that point either and you stop.

Do you know that feeling when you want to stop existing, stop being, take a break, do nothing, I know it too, but I have neither the space nor the energy to do either.

How do I tell two truly concerned loving parents that their love is suffocating me. That I need space and time, the space to cry, cry myself to sleep, the space to cry loudly, shout, break a glass, howl. And finally when they gave me the space to be with myself, alone for some time in the day, I had nothing left of me. I had buried my failure, my incompetence, my loss, deep inside me. I had become a walking dead person, because my soul – the girl inside me stopped breathing.

The realization of being transgender happens over time. In India transgender implies you’re a hijra. Hijra’s are feared by society for they’re believed to have mystical powers and at the same time being hijra is the worst abuse you can give to a man. And if you don’t conform to either male or female you’re a hijra and of course no family would have their son make that decision which will give him a life of hell – a life of a hijra. In this part of the world, you call a spade a spade, ergo you call a man wanting to become a woman a hijra. ‘Sadak par ladkiyon ke kapde pahen kar ghoomne wale ladkon ko humare samaj mai kya kahtein hai tumhe maloom hoga’ (‘You know what we call a man wearing a woman’s clothes here’)

For me the realization of being transgender happened when I fell madly in love with a heterosexual boy and I realized that it was exceptionally difficult to move on because it was the girl inside me that had fallen in love and in the attempt to move on, I did some stupid things and yes I regret now. I acted in a matter that was selfish and would have hurt him. It’s been a year and it still weighs me down every day.

If there is anything I have learned from that mistake, it is that I would not want to turn into a girl with a heavy bag of guilt, that I don’t want to lose more people in this journey toward being a girl,  that I don’t have it in me what it takes to live with the guilt of running away from family and the responsibilities one has toward it and neither do I have in me the courage to be disowned by my family. Some families don’t move, some take time, for mine- I know them best. I’ve bid farewell to my dream of being a girl. The short stunt was a beautiful one. But with this, I’ve bid adieu to a big part of me.

I can’t be a hypocrite who fights the world for equality while I have lost that battle in my own life. If this boat sails in the opposite direction you’ll know; for now you know this titanic has hit it’s iceberg.