International Transgender Day: 5 trans people prove why all is not lost

Updated: Nov 20, 2017, 17:23 IST | Chaitraly Deshmukh | Mumbai

Even as the International Transgender Day of Remembrance is being observed today in memory of those who died due to violence against the community, the success stories of several transgender people from the state comes as a beacon of hope

Even as the International Transgender Day of Remembrance is being observed today in memory of those who died due to violence against the community, the success stories of several transgender people from the state comes as a beacon of hope. Rights activists, a make-up artist, sarpanch and supervisor in a private college reveal how all is not lost for the community that has been fighting tooth and nail for the basic right to live with dignity.

'Learn to embrace yourself'
The life of Mayuri Mahesh Bansod, better known as Kadambari, 35, a former FTII student, is also one that's been dotted with struggles. However, Bansod did not allow that to come in the way of her dreams. Kadambari, who works as a celebrity make-up and jewellery designer, said, "I belong to a good educated family. My mother, who is a teacher by profession, realised that I was not comfortable being a boy, but she refused to admit it. Then, one day I had an outburst, and decided to leave my home and create a path for myself. People have the misconception that transgenders are either beggars or into flesh trade. But, I wanted to prove my detractors wrong."

Mayuri Bansodwith some of her clients she has used her skills on
Mayuri Bansodwith some of her clients she has used her skills on

Kadambari completed her post graduation from FTII and later, tried her luck as a dancer in films. However, she soon realised her calling as a make-up artiste. "Today, many admire my work. I am glad I embraced myself."

19
Age when Mayuri Bansod left her home

'I believe in doing work'
Dnyaneshwar Kamble alias Mauli, 40, who was elected as sarpanch in the gram panchayat elections in Tarangfal village of Solapur last month, has also scripted an unusual success story. She became the first transgender in the electoral history of Maharashtra, to make the cut. Mauli was contesting on a BJP ticket and defeated NCP rival Jaysingh Salve. A Std VII drop out, Mauli was forced to leave school and also her village, after she was caught wearing a sari.

Dnyaneshwar Kamble alias Mauli
Dnyaneshwar Kamble alias Mauli

Mauli only returned to her village eight years later, and started working as a social worker. "When I got elected last month, nobody took me seriously. But, I believe in doing work, rather than asserting my gender. In a month's time, people have accepted me and we are doing a lot of good work for the village. I have personally been visiting schools and homes to check if there are functional toilets," Mauli said, adding, "I am proud to be a trans."

'We are fighting for an equal world for all'
Chandani Gore a transgender, who started the NGO Nirbhaya, four years ago, said, "The government and judiciary is still struggling with the rights of women and men, so when will anyone talk about us. Due to the stigma associated with being a transgender, people hesitate to come forward and reveal their true identities. It's time that the government thinks about us too."

Chandni Gore (rigth) Mridul Wadhwa
Chandni Gore (rigth) Mridul Wadhwa

Mridul Wadhwa, a trans woman and an international equality activist, who was awarded the Outstanding Campaigner Award at the Scottish LGBT Awards of the Equality Network in 2017, said, "I lived in Pune for the first 30 years of my life, before permanently moving to Scotland in 2009. I had good doctors and enough support from family, but not everyone is lucky." "Today, I remain committed to creating a safer and more equal world for women and trans people," she said in a telephonic interview.

'I'm exploring new avenues'
Ambika Panna Gabrel, 31, a resident of Bibewadi, Pune, has been working as a bakery supervisor with MIT College of Food Technology for the last 16 years. "As a child, I realised that I was a misfit. I always felt like a girl from within," recalled Gabrel, who grew up with the spurious identity of Amol Kadam.

Ambika Panna Gabrel
Ambika Panna Gabrel

"During my board examinations, I was made to sit with boys who manhandled me. Due to this, I could not focus on my studies and failed in maths," said Gabrel. He, however, managed to clear Std XII, and started working as peon with a primary school, before taking up the job of a supervisor with MIT College. "I want to be a teacher, but I am trying to explore more avenues. Today, I am happy that both the students and staff respect me." Mangesh Karad, who is the executive president of MIT Art, Design and Technology University said, "Gabrel is good at her work, and in the last 15 years, there has no been no complaint against her."

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