Kumar.B/ Kumari’s Story
According to her community- there is a lot of discrimination for us within and outside the community. It also interferes with our educational opportunities. Right from high school, there was a lot of teasing and taunts.
“I always wondered what my mistake was and the reason for this. My class teacher also never supported me and said that it is because of my behavior that the boys tease me. One good thing that happened was that my headmaster heard me singing and complimented me greatly. He also asked me to sing during the school day functions. There was a lot of isolation and discrimination during sports time. I never had any friends too. In 7th, my class teacher was always very caring, and considerate. But, even she asked me to change my behavior and behave more like a boy. I was so embarrassed to even attend my elder sister’s wedding because I was scared there would be more taunting.
All my relatives complained to my parents that I was too shy and my parents tried to cover for me. But after sometime, even they started scolding me for behaving like a girl. Soon, I stopped sharing with them. I think if I could have done my education I would have done better in my life. I met my community members after my 10th standard but never tried to contact them before as I was scared. When I met them, I cried for the first time as I was so relieved, I started feeling very happy. After my parents got to know, they were very angry and did not let me out of the house. I sometimes lied to them to get out of the house. When I went for an interview, I had to go through a lot of problems. I was very disappointed that even though I had done well, they posed certain conditions that I must cut my hair and behave more masculine as my behavior would affect the other workers. Once, while travelling in a bus, a man standing near me started shouting at me and calling me names. I tried staying at home, and working small jobs. My parents were disappointed in me. I went for counseling, which helped me understand myself better. A friend asked me to take my parents for the counseling. But I was hesitant to bring them. I brought one of my relatives who the influenced my parents to come. They were initially very shocked and after counseling, things were a little better. I got a job as a peer educator. My family opposed and finally dad agreed to send me as long as I promised him that I would not wear girl’s clothes. There was marriage pressure but I clearly told them that I was not interested. I’m very uncomfortable dealing with the questions of my relatives. People behave very badly with us in hospitals, asking us what gender they should tick and making jokes about us between themselves. This happens in private as well as government hospitals. Some have even refused to touch and treat us”
Transcribed by Ashwini Raj
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