Trans-men break their silence

Published: June 28, 2011

CHENNAI: The third pride march in Chennai heralds the beginning of a few ‘firsts’. We have long been hearing about the man-to-woman transgenders (trans-women). For the first time in Chennai, the woman-to-man transgenders (trans-men) opened up, as they shared the story of their lives.

Dinesh (22), a self taught artist and writer, is a science fiction junkie from Chennai. On first sight, he would come across as reticent somber young guy. But when one actually gets to talk to him about arts, he is instantly transformed, ready for an animated conversation.

Born as a daughter to parents who separated at a very early age, Dinesh as a child was adopted by his single aunt (mother’s sister) who works as a professor at a city college. Fearing that he could be abducted by his enraged father, Ashok was privately taught at home. He never went to school and did not have many friends of his age.

Dinesh said, “Till the age of eight, I think I was gender free. I kind of grew up in social isolation. I did not have many friends, as I never went to school.” At 12, Dinesh began to realise that he was different from little girls his age. “I knew I didn’t sync with the rest of the gender (girls) though for others I looked like a girl.”

He added, “I always loved wearing tees and jeans, and at times my mom used to tell me to wear frocks. Sometimes she would choose accessories to dress me up. But every time I would wear those girls clothes, I felt I was dressing up like a drag. I was thinking I was in clothes that girls wear, as I perceived  myself as a little boy who ought to wear shorts, jeans and tees and smart shoes.”

And then at 13, puberty hit Dinesh. He described it as the worst phase of his life. “After puberty hit me, with every passing day, the disconnect between who I thought I was in my head and what my body was shaping up to be was becoming too much to handle.” He said, “It was my grandma who first accepted me as a guy. When she first used — ‘da’ to address me as they do for boys, I was thrilled. For my grandmother, I was her grandson.”

Dinesh says he is now working on his mother to completely accept him as he is. Once that happens, he is planning to go for a sex reassignment surgery to get closer to the male ideal he carries in his head. Till then, he is focused on pursuing his creative interests and is now working on a science fiction series, which even has one lead character who is a trans-man.

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