*Jamal Siddiqui works as a facilitator in Etasha Society, He is the co-founder of transmen collective which is a transmen group working on transmen issues. He is a YouTuber, writer and part of Nazariya - QFRG.
No skirting the issue
As far as I remember, I always wanted to wear pants or shorts to school as a child and actually fought with my parents when they asked me to wear a skirt. I could never understand why everybody was treating me like a girl. By the time I was ten, I realised I was ‘different’ from other girls in the class. I never wanted to talk about dolls, did not like pink, frilly clothes and never had any desires to grow my hair long as the other girls in the class.
After seeing me cry every in morning while wearing a skirt, my father allowed me to wear pants at school. That was the happiest day of my life. I held my head high and went to my class. But my happiness was short lived. My teacher punished me for not wearing ‘proper’ uniform and made me stand on the bench for one whole period.
When I went home, I did not tell this to my parents and wore the same uniform the next day too. Not only my classmates bullied me and made fun of me for my looks, the teachers too scolded me. I was taken to the principal’s room and they called up my parents to tell them how I had violated school rules.
I had no choice but to switch to a skirt and a blouse from the next day. My classmates, however, decided to bully me yet again the next day saying, ‘Where are your pants, miss?’
Hide the breasts
Things got worse when I hit puberty. I started having periods and my chest started to show. It hurt to see my body grow as a female, while I could feel was like a man. To mask my growing breasts, I used to bind them tightly from a cloth made out of old jeans. It was painful but it made me feel peaceful.
When no one was at home, I also dressed up as my real self – a boy. I used to make moustaches with my mother’s kohl and wore a pant and a shirt. It felt great but I never had the courage to dress up like a boy in public.
The moment I turned 18, I decided that I had had enough. I read about gender transition online and decided that I will transform myself from female to male. This was all I wanted in life at that time. So I dropped out of college and started working to earn money for my transition.
I worked as a teacher in a rural area just for a measly sum of 3000. But I needed more money. Hence I decided to join a call centre as it was the easiest way to earn money. I started my transition from female to male gradually. I bought a binder, cut my hair and bought masculine clothes. Life started feeling better already but I wanted a complete transition.
However, it took me seven long years before I could gather enough courage, money and a safe environment for a gender transition surgery. Today I am proud to say that transition was the best thing I have done in my life. I have been on the testosterone hormone for one year.
Now that I am at peace with myself, I have made it my mission to help people like me. And so I began a YouTube channel to showcase my transition journey.
You are not alone
After seeing all the changes in the past one year, I fell in love with me all over again. It has been the best year of my life. I still have a long way to go. But all along, I felt as I was the only person who was born like this. But I was wrong. There are so many people like me who need help to understand their sexuality and finally embrace it.
In order to increase the visibility of transmen in India, I have also begun writing a blog and also for various magazines about my experience as a transman. My advice to all the aspiring trans people - never lose hope as it is the most important thing in life.
*To protect the identity, the person/s in the picture is/are models. This article was first published on July 31, 2018.