My Gender — My Choice!
“Bastard!” my very first nickname; the only inheritance I had received from my Mother. My mother was a special woman. She gave me everything I needed to discover my identity. She gave me the love that every child deserves, a little too much at that. She cared for me like all mothers do. So what if her ways were unconventional. It’s her intent that mattered after all! She must be given due credit for making me the person I am, today.
“Where is my red lipstick Mother?” I would ask her and she would simply say “Use mine instead, dear.” I loved to browse her dressing shelves. The essence of her body enticed me to become like her.
“This little rascal has nothing in common with other boys,” Sheila aunt, the whore next door would comment, every time she would poke her nose into my one bedroom abode.
“Who said I was a boy?”
I never understood why the gorgeous and curvy women in the brothel, would resist when I tried to be like one of them, after all they consisted of a large and undeniable part of my identity…? I simply adored their attire, their makeup, their jewellery and above all the seductive gaze they possessed day in and day out. I craved to love them and be loved, by women like them.
I respected their profession and never did I express contempt towards God for giving me the life I had. Every day began with my Mother’s pooja on the window sill, where she prayed to Lord Krishna. She often told me, “Never lose faith in Krishna, he will rescue you, the day you need him most.” I was never much of a believer myself, as I had more interesting things to engage myself with.
Mother loved to dress me up every day for school, until one day, in grade seven, when I refused to go, as I had become a stock of laughter for students and teachers alike. The Founders’ Day was approaching. The tradition said that all children must give their measurements for costumes, to the school tailor. At my turn for giving measurements, the tailor almost felt me up near the crotch and deliberately noted a smaller size for my crotch line, than the inch tape indicated. I was humiliated by his uncouth gesture, but more disgusted at his spiteful intent to make me suffocate in those hideous pants, which the school finalised, for lack of funds. The embarrassment did not end there. I told my best friend Munni, “I wish I had a vagina like you and other girls, so that other men like the Tailor, could not treat me this way.” To my nightmare, Munni was not my only audience, it was the entire class, standing behind us, in the queues for measurements.
Munni was my best friend, but a girl after all. She started weeping, as she assumed that I made an obscene comment about her assets, to mock her. She complained to the class teacher, Ms. Lathika. Ms. Lathika, asked me to apologize to Munni, in front of the whole class. She also made me stand outside the classroom the entire day. I tried to explain things to her and to the class and my exact words were, “…but Miss, I was not trying to mock her. I seriously wish I were a woman, in order to avoid the cupping I got from the Tailor. He had no rights to feel my private parts.” I had a tone of apology and anger. The combination certainly did not work in my favour.
Ms. Lathika, baffled and antagonized further, now considered my explanation an act to insult her personally. She asked of me to leave her sight, lest there be severe consequences.
I still did not know why was I made to be the baddie in the picture? I was the one molested and victimized, not the women! I asked Mother, “Is honesty really the best policy?” She said, “Sometimes, one may be required to be sensitive about what one says and where…” Since that day, I concluded that I must never be honest about my yearning to become a woman. Not even to Mother.
Years elapsed, and in no time, my secondary sexual features appeared all over my body. I had hit puberty. I was fourteen and I hated it! The immense growth of facial hair and body hair, made me feel like throwing up. I hated the development of my genitals. Why was God doing this to me? Why could not I have a smooth and curvaceous body like Mother’s? I craved for that body. I loved that body. I wanted to possess that body and be touched by another such body. I loved the beauty of making love to another woman and be loved in reciprocity by another woman.
I wanted a woman’s body, with no facial hair, luscious lips, long black hair, dangling-round breasts, a peaceful vagina, which rubbed against mine, with no intercourse activity or the pressure of an orgasm. I felt miserable in my own skin.
One day, which happens to be the most unfortunate day of my life I confronted Mother with the truth. “I want to become like you Mother. I hate every strand of masculinity in my body. I want to walk like you, with my bosom high up, my buttocks adding to the curves of my body; hair falling down like yours do.”
“Why do you hate yourself so much? Do you know how rare it is in our community to get a perfect masculine body from God?” demanded Mother angrily, after I confessed to her that I didn’t like my birth as a man.
“So what if I have a perfect male body? I don’t want one! Most men anyway are useless in our community. Do you want me to be a pimp and increase the business of this hell?”
At this point, Mother lost it. She came close and slapped me hard.
“Is this why I worked so hard and got you educated? To make a pimp out of you? If you are accusing me of that sin, then you might as well stop living with the devil of a Mother, that I am. Get out of my house right now, and never to return.”
She slammed the door in my face and abandoned me from her life. I banged on the door through out the night. She would not open. My banging had awakened the entire neighbourhood. They all looked at me with confused eyes. As a boy child, many of these whores had tried to force me into penetrating them. Mother had been my shield throughout. But today, I had lost both, the lust of these women and Mother’s protective blanket, which I felt so comfortable in. The whores wanted a real man, who could make them feel young about themselves and not a sissy who wanted to be one of them, because there were plenty of women available anyway, but a healthy, macho man always came for a high price.
Ostracized by the whore house, I had nowhere to go. I was about fifteen now, with only little education to support me. I slept on station platform for many days. How comfortable had Mother’s creaky bed been! Sometimes, even sleeping under it, when she had customers, was better than sleeping on the floor. Eventually, a fellow being suggested that I work as domestic help in households, considering my education, that was the only decent job I could hope for.
I was lucky to have got a civilized home. They treated me like their own children and made arrangements for me to attend government school in order to complete my education. I was an above average student. I liked school. Though managing house chores with keeping up good grades was a bit challenging, this was my best bet at life. I could not complain.
At nights, I would gaze at the sky and miss Mother, wondered what must she be doing, while I was away and her youth touching retirement. I wanted to help Mother in her old age. I was her only alive relative. I missed her. I wanted to go back.
With God’s grace I graduated from High school and fared well at my exams. I was sent to work at office now, by my master and mistress. I did menial jobs at office. Running errands, getting coffee, managing the printing machine. I was happy. But even then, at nights, when I would sit to introspect, I felt like a loser. I hated every bit of being denied a female body. The women at office were mostly clad in professional attire. That made them even more attractive to me. It’s the stiffness of tight shirts, skirts and trousers, which highlights a woman’s bosom and buttocks. I dreamed of living that reality some day, when I would be rich enough to wear those finely ironed clothes and walk confidently, with my hair left open
In a matter of years, through my dedication and hard work, I graduated from the coffee-guy to clerk. How I hated the safari suits, given to me! The rough texture itched my skin all over. I wanted cotton shirts instead. I had saved up some money for my clothes. But there was no point in buying women’s clothes for my ugly hairy body. I still missed Mother. I wanted to tell another person about the internal turmoil which I underwent.
At that point, I came across a brochure for a psychiatry clinic, near the office locality. I had heard that psychiatrists were mental doctors. For the first time in my life, I felt I was a mental patient. There was no way a man could hate his body. It was my irrevocable sin. I wanted a cure.
“Gender Dysphoria” exhaled the lady in front of me. She was a qualified psychiatrist, with the perfect body, hard to miss. Apparently, I had a mental condition wherein I had cross-gender identification. That is, I identify with the opposite sex.
I was terrified. “Is there a cure?” I asked in anticipation.
“Well, there are different alternatives to deal with this situation. We shall go with whatever you wish for yourself. I shall recommend the best surgeons for you. However, a sex change operation will cost a huge sum of money. Are you willing to go ahead with a surgery?”
“Is that my best option?”
“It depends on the degree of your urge to get a feminine body. If you can manage to live with the trauma all your life, then I could give you some medicines to tackle with the stress. On the contrary, some men prefer repressing these urges, which can also be catered to with the help of advanced drugs.”
That day, that moment, sitting in front of a psychiatrist, I felt I had my moment of truth. She was demanding an answer from me point blank, which translated to “Can you live a life of lie? Or would you rather stay true to yourself?” How could I lie to myself, especially now, when I knew the truth about myself?
The best part about this diagnosis was the awareness of the fact that there are many others like me, out there! I am not the only one who feels this way. I am normal! I am a normal person! My gender can be my choice! I just could not be any happier!
I thanked the Doctor and asked her for the surgeon’s contact details. As I left her office, I felt like a different person. Someone, Mother would also be proud of! She need not think of me as a misfit in the community anymore! I was normal like any other transgender!
The next day, I was to meet a certain Ms.Sheila. Waiting at her clinic were the hardest twenty minutes of my life. I did not know how the surgery would proceed. What would the exact changes in me, be? Would I be able to afford the surgery? Did I want a life like that?
“Mr. Nair, you can come in. Ms. Sheila is ready.” Announced the angel-like secretary of Ms. Sheila.
“How are you Mr. Nair?” asked Ms. Sheila, glancing through my case file.
“As great as I could be.”
“Well, please do not worry about anything. You are in very safe hands. I shall explain you all aspects of the surgery, you must only decide whether you would like to undergo the Sex reassignment surgery?”
“Sex reass…sorry? I think I didn’t get that right.”
“Sex reassignment surgery. It shall transform the masculine parts of your body into feminine. It shall take about a week. It will cost you Rs. 5 lakhs only. You could use the EMI scheme of the clinic, and pay up the sum in instalments…”
As she went on about the business scheme, I was wondering, how exactly would I be able to pay up even the instalments? I barely made Rs. 5000 a month. It would take a lifetime, before I could really live the changed life that I was aspiring for. Breaking her monotonous speech, I finally gathered the courage and said, “How exactly do you go about the surgery? How do you convert the penis into a vagina?”
“Well, it is not as complicated as it sounds. The genitals of both males and females have the same basic structure. They only grow into different organs over a period of time.”
“So then, where does the penis really go?”
“The general idea of the surgery is that we deconstruct the penis into its parts, the skin, the erectile tissues, the testicles, the scrotum. We resize them and reshape them and put them into female positions. We basically recycle a lot of the material of the penis into the vagina.”
“Uhm, okay.” I was so nervous. It was awkward to hear a person of the opposite sex, speak so blatantly about my genitals! I was perspiring. I didn’t know if I were really ready to let go off my parts. Besides, how could I trust this system blindly? What if I died? What if I did not survive the surgery?
“Considering my miserable financial condition, could you grant me a waiver of some portion of the amount?”
“I think, we could maximum cut it down to four and a half lakhs. Sir, this surgery requires exclusive skills, not available everywhere in India. We call for many surgeons from all over India. I am sorry but that is the maximum I can do.”
“Okay. Thank you for the guidance Madam.” I left her office in apprehension. I had no clue as to what the future had planned for me. I wanted a woman’s body. That had been my childhood dream, and finally today I had been told that with the development in Science, I could in fact do it. I could be me! I could tell Mother that I am still her child, only packaged differently!
Today, after one year, two months and thirteen days, I finally have the money for the first instalment, Rs. 50,000 only! I worked hard, burnt midnight oil, but I had to do this in order for my dream to come true; to finally live the life of my choice. I cannot be any happier! I am heading to Ms. Sheila’s nursing home now.
I feel proud and victorious. I feel that I have finally conquered my fears and anxiety. I can now live in the body of my choice. I feel empowered.