Prism & Pen
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Prism & Pen

What This Indian Trans Man Loves about Being LGBTQ

Pain, anger and queer joy

Image Credit: Flickr

Every time I remind my psychiatrist I’m a transmasculine person, he wonders why I’m so hell-bent on being transgender.

I understand his point. As a cisgender person, he can’t fathom why I would want to risk losing most of my family’s support and job opportunities just to get surgery or hormones.

I wonder the same. I mean I don’t want to be a transgender person. AT ALL.

But I was never given a choice.

When I first came to know about LGBTQ people, I spent months telling myself I’m not queer even though I’ve always known I’m different from my peers. Initially, there was denial, then a lot of time praying to God to cure me. I had seen hijras in the streets and how people turn their faces away from them in disgust. I’ve heard how my mother spoke about LGBTQ people as deviants who should be put to jail. I internalised this hatred. I didn’t want to be hated for something I didn’t choose to be.

I just wanted to be “normal".

My view from those days have changed. There are some days when I’m angry with myself for hurting my mother and crashing all her hopes of having a girl. Sometimes I don’t see any good in being a transgender person when my gender dysphoria gets my anxiety through the roof or when I see news of queer people being harassed or worse, beaten up and killed. But despite all this, I can’t imagine being anything other than queer.

For me, queerness feels like an intrinsic part of me that I can’t just easily cut off. It is in the way I talk, the way I walk and in the way I see the world.

I was young when I learnt my queerness isn’t acceptable, long before I knew the word. My queerness separated me from others and subjected me to bullying. But it was also my queerness that made me question the pre-existing heteronormative norms and show it a middle finger. It taught me that I can be anything I want to be, regardless of what society tells me. I’m still learning to accept the feminine side of me, something I’ve struggled with in the past. Sometimes internalised sexism gets the better of me, but my queerness makes me question what I’ve been taught all these years and I think it helps me try to be a better person every day.

I still don’t like my trans-ness a lot of times, but I’ve learnt to count my blessings. Not only did my queerness bring me closer to my mother and teach me to introspect, but it has also taught me to go for things I want, even if I am scared shitless. In the last few years, I’ve met some amazing queer people I’m glad to call my friends. I have found my love for LGBTQ storytelling. And I have my queerness to thank for bringing me along this ride.

So, I guess being queer is not all that bad. At least, when the cisgender straight people are not making our lives hard.

Artemis Shishir(he/they) is a nonbinary trans man living in India. He is doing his bachelors in a university in Hyderabad. You can reach him at

This story is a response to Prism & Pen’s prompt What I Love About Being LGBTQ!

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