Deepika is 40-year-old salon owner, born a boy but always knew she was meant to be a woman.
It’s a big issue for an Indian family to lose a son, even if it means they gain a daughter. For a long time my parents were in complete denial. But I remember how I would always ask my mother for dolls and lipstick. There was never a doubt in my mind. I have always felt like a woman. I don’t know any other feeling.
When I was a young teenager my friends accepted me as a girl, despite my male features. At that time, I even had a boyfriend who called me his girlfriend. It made me feel so comfortable to be accepted like that. But as I grew older, I started to feel that I was the only person in the world to feel like a woman trapped in a man’s body. My personality slowly changed to a shy person who wouldn’t interact much with other students.
My parents pushed me to play with the boys. But I refused, I only felt comfortable around other women. One constant fight we had was about my name; they refused to call me by my female name. They didn’t want to acknowledge it, but I think my parents must have always known. Every mother knows her child, right?
Desire to change
In my early twenties I started to dress up as a women regularly and the more I did, the more the desire in me to become a woman grew. But I didn’t have my surgery until I was 28.
I worked as an economics professor at a school and was earning well. I wanted to become completely independent before I had the sex change. I was so focussed on saving money that I would go for days without a proper dinner. I ate sandwiches to save every rupee I could.
When I had a house of my own, a car and enough savings I stared the process of becoming a woman. As a test, my doctors told me to live as a complete woman for six months. People on the street made fun of me and laughed at me. But after six months I still was sure of becoming a woman.
The hardest part
You can’t change your bone structure, but everything else can be changed. So I started to teach myself how to speak in a more feminine way. I began taking female hormones that made a huge difference – people hardly recognised me anymore.
The operation itself was the hardest part. I wanted to have a vagina, not just be castrated like most hijras in India. I wanted to become a woman like any other Indian woman.
It was the loneliest period of my life. My parents had disowned me. My friends came by the hospital occasionally, but most of the time I would spend being alone at home. My vagina collapsed three times and I had to go back into surgery. It took five years for me to easily pass being a woman.
A stable life
It’s been over ten years now and my life couldn’t have been better. I’m no longer an economics professor, but I own three beauty salons and work occasionally as a model. My parents have slowly come to terms with my new life as well. They see that I earn more than I ever did as a man and society has accepted me.
Nine years ago I met my husband online. I’ve always been honest with him about my past and it has made our marriage very strong. Together we have adopted a daughter. But my in-laws don’t know anything about my past. My husband prefers not to tell them, because he thinks it would unnecessarily upset them.
Sometimes when I see other beautiful women I get the urge to look in the mirror and check if I still look like a woman too. That little insecurity about my appearance will always be there, I think. But as I get older, it gets lesser and lesser.
Do you know anyone who has undergone a sex change? What were their trials and challenges? Share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment below or via Facebook.