A Trans Woman On Her Arduous Transition And How She Is Cherishing Her Womanhood Now
- IWB Post
- May 17, 2018
“I was born a guy. My body was like a jail, both heart and mind,” Kritika says in a voice that is an amalgamation of pain, strength and triumph.
You know how childhood is genderless? You are not discriminated against and you can wear anything and everything. But as you grow up the rules of society rear their ugly head. When the rules that make you “normal” in the society start contrasting with your concept of self that is when you realize that you are different and thus the problem arises.
Kritika shares, “In my childhood, I was identified as a male and I didn’t know why I was different. I kept looking for the reason.” She kept struggling with her identity until the time she made it to college. There was a phase when she even tried to suppress her identity and control her feelings.
Things got worse when she reached college. She had to live in a boys’ hostel because that‘s what her anatomy and her documents entailed. She recollects: “I was feminine as a guy and often people would misunderstand me as gay. I had to live in a boys’ hostel where I was badly discriminated against. I had no friends. It was in 2013 when I had to face rape attempts and that left me with a shattered mental state. “
She continues: “After the rape attempts I got depressed to the extent of getting suicidal. I had to drop out of college and spent one year in isolation and depression.” Kritika thus started taking expert help and counselling. It was during the counselling that she was diagnosed with “gender dysphoria.”
The psychiatrist’s approval was the first step of transition for Kritika but her world didn’t change the instant the psychiatrist cleared her. Kritika shares, “The journey isn’t magical and there comes a phase in between when your looks tend to get very confusing. The transition takes its own sweet time.”
She continues: “Then there came a time when my looks were not the problem anymore but my documents which labelled me male. I could not travel because my looks contrasted with my documents. I could not rent a house because for that I had to furnish my ID and all sorts of confusions and complications broke loose the instant I fished out my IDs. Imagine how horrible the drill was for me!”
It got worse with the passage of time. Kritika eventually decided to change her name. She shares, “It got really embarrassing for me as I was working that time. My legal documents had a different name and that is why I had to explain my situation to almost everyone at work. A lot of humiliating and personal questions were asked, the majority of them pertaining to my genitals. I thus decided to get both my name and gender changed legally.”
It was the time of the historic NALSA vs. Union of India verdict which upheld the rights of the transgender. The Supreme Court had directed the concerned ministries to frame policies within 6 months but like all other government procedures that did not happen even after one year post the declaration of the verdict.
Kritika applied for a change in her documents after the verdict. She was asked for her medical documents contrary to the order of the Supreme Court. She decided not to give up after reaching this far and dragged government in the court. While the judges were supportive it took too long.
Kritika recalls: “Every day was a struggle so much so that I started feeling suicidal again. I decided that if I was going to end my life for it I might as well give it one last try. I made a presentation and sent it to Prime Minister’s Office, President’s office, and all the concerned ministries.”
Finally, after a long struggle, the directions were issued to all the ministries by the Supreme Court to let anyone change their names and gender without any medical certificates. “It was historic. I was the first person in India to get it done. I changed all my documents,” boasts Kritika.
The next step for Kritika was to get her particulars changed in her mark sheets and again had to face the similar kind of ignorance and indifference. She was again asked to furnish her medical certificate. In fact, things took an uglier turn. She shares: “The secretary of the UP Board breached my privacy and shared my personal information with the media. It was my story and I had not given anybody any rights to share it. When I approached a media house with the same argument, a journalist very arrogantly told me that he had proof and I could do whatever I want to do about it.”
Kritika is now in the process of filing a privacy petition in High Court. She also approached all the state governments individually to ensure that they adopt and frame the transgender policies as per the Supreme Court’s rulings. All thanks to Kritika’s relentless efforts the Delhi police is now in the process of making a transgender board.
Recently when I had a chat with transgender activist Gopi Shankar of Srishti Madurai foundation he had said: “While you as a cis woman must be aware of your womanhood, it is unlikely that you constantly celebrate it, but when it comes to trans women they actually celebrate their womanhood 24*7.”
I was at that moment reminded of the same and asked Kritika how she is enjoying her womanhood now. “I am enjoying every bit of my womanhood now. I am engaged and I can wear anything that I want to,” she shared and I could feel her joy through the phone.
I then asked her about that one aspect of womanhood that she cherishes the most. “The love and respect that I get from people around me,” she shared.