Here's what Mumbai's trans community has to say to Beed constable Lalita Salve

Updated: Nov 26, 2017, 12:11 IST | Team mid day

Mumbai's trans community has some advice for Beed constable Lalita Salve who has moved Bombay HC to retain her job after sex-change surgery

Illustration/Uday Mohite
Illustration/Uday Mohite

'Be true to yourself'
Siddhant, 39
Was born: Sonal
Hails from: Mumbai
Works as: Recruitment agent
When I was younger, I always felt different from the other girls around me. Initially, since I was attracted to other girls, I thought I was lesbian. I even made a few lesbian friends, and then realised that I was not like them either. Some years later, when I started working as an agent with a private firm, I met a woman on a popular social media site, who told me she was undergoing a sex change surgery to become a man. Suddenly, I realised the possibilities my life held. However, it was not until 2012 that I decided that I was ready for the transition. Two months into the transitioning process, I told my company CEO of my decision. Fortunately, the superior was supportive and even asked how he could help me. That's how I became Siddhant. Sex transitioning is stressful. You need to have a lot of patience. But, I want to tell Lalita Salve that because she has been true to herself, she will receive justice. And, if she needs somebody to talk to, I will always be there for her.
As told to Hemal Ashar

'Have fewer expectations from family, society'
Gausia Sheikh, 27
Was born: Gaus Sheikh
Hails from: Andhra Pradesh
Works as: Dancer
I was born Gaus Sheikh, and was the only son among five siblings. However, nothing about being a man felt right. In 2012, I had a sex reassignment surgery and changed my name to Gausia. It's then that I fell in love with a man. He did not fear social stigma, so he married me. But, his parents did not accept me and due to this, things changed for the worse. Then, one day, he ran away from home, taking away all my lifetime savings.I did not give up and lodged a complaint against him with the police. When no action was taken, I moved court and filed for dowry harassment. The case is still on. Both my parents passed away a few years ago. My four sisters are still upset with me. However, despite the obstacles I have faced, I do not regret my decision of changing my gender. I believe that this life is better than the previous one. From my experience, I would just advise Lalita to have faith and courage. The people close to her may abandon her after the surgery, fearing social stigma, but she has to stay strong. She should keep minimum hopes and expectations from society and be independent.
As told to Samiullah Khan

'Continue to be brave'
Swati bidhan Barua, 27
Was born: Bidhan Barua
Hails from: Guwahati
Works as: Lawyer
I am originally from Guwahati, and came to Mumbai for a sex reassignment surgery. I had to fight for my right to become a woman. It was only after I filed a petition in the Bombay High Court that I got the nod. While people around me were always supportive of my decision, I still feel a sense of discrimination. There was an instance wh-en I was abused and even physically assaulted. I feel that the generation needs to be educated for people's mentality to change. I completed my law some years ago, and I now practice at the Guwahati High Court. I am currently appearing as an advocate in ten criminal cases. I get a lot respect from people for my profession and the work I do for the transgender community. Lalitha is fortunate that her family and friends are supportive of her decision. I think she is incredibly brave. The police department should be kind towards her.
As told to Asif Rizvi

'Have a strong support system to keep you going'
Meera Jasmine, 30
Was born: Sachin Narayana
Hails from: Andhra Pradesh
Works as: Dancer
I hail from Andhra Pradesh and grew up in a conservative family that could never understand why their son behaved like a woman. I would dress, walk and talk in an effeminate manner. I always felt trapped in my body and wanted to change my orientation from the time I became an adult. I finally took the decision to undergo a sex reassignment surgery three years ago. It was the biggest decision of my life — it was the reason I moved out of my home and chose to live independently. Money was the biggest concern. I dredged up my savings and borrowed from friends. I think my friends from the trans community were my greatest support at a time when my family had turned their backs on me. I didn't even know which doctor to approach. They would make hospital rounds to find a reliable surgeon. The operation cost me Rs 1.50 lakh. But, was it worth this pain and mental agony? I couldn't quell those thoughts, but then my close friends counselled me. Those moments of remorse were temporary, though. Lalita will need to be strong when she experiences similar emotions because it's natural to oscillate and doubt your decision.
As told to Anju Maskeri

Urmi Jadhav, 40
Was born: Ganesh
Hails from: Mumbai
Works as: NGO worker
A lot of people might not be aware of the difference between gender hormone therapy and a sex reassignment surgery. Both are connected, but there are significant differences. While the former requires you to take hormones to become the person you feel you are, the latter involves surgery that will alter your anatomy. In my case, I chose to undergo the feminisation process through hormones. I did not have a problem with my genitalia. Yet, the process was challenging. At such times, ensure you have a strong support system in place because you tend to have mood swings, bouts of anger and emotional outbursts. I used to snap a lot, but people around me were aware of what the process entails, so they were patient.
As told to Anju Maskeri

'Handle your finances well'
Navya singh, 26
Was born: Parmindar
Hails from: Chandigarh
Works as: NGO worker
At the age of 13, I started getting the feeling that I was trapped in the wrong body. I even told my mother about it, but she yelled at me. After an eight-year-long struggle, I finally convinced my family that I could not continue living as a man. I then came to Mumbai to get treatment. However, I had to cough up at least Rs 3 to Rs 4 lakh, so I started looking for jobs to raise the money. I started working with an NGO and in two years I collected enough money for my gender reassignment surgery. After a long dark phase, I saw light at the end of the tunnel. This year, I was selected among the top five at the Miss Trans Queen competition. I am really proud of Lalita. She has taken a bold step, but I would advise her to make sufficient financial arrangements for her surgeries. I would also advise Salve to prepare herself mentally for everything she could face post the surgery.
As told to Suraj Ojha

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