Beyond every change, she was human!!!


As a continuation to the article Beyond every change, she was human!!!, here I present the reason behind the few choices provided for transgenders in their life. Before going to the real problem faced by these marginalized people, I have to say about one of the successful person among them. It is +Kalki Subramaniam. She is a dual Master's degree holder, which is one of the greatest struggle even for a normal person. She has addressed in lots of famous universities around the world like IIT Madras, Jindal law school and so on. She is a multi-faceted person. She is a transgender rights activist, an actress, a poet and a entrepreneur. She was the first Indian transgender person to act as a lead character in the movie named 'Narthagi', which portrays the feeling of a transgender, their fears, love and true happiness in life. Her name has decorated many awards like the 'Life time achievement award' from the Lioness club in the 2009, 'Outstanding Social  Worker award' from the Junior Chamber International Pondicherry White Town in the year 2013. She was invited by the government of the United States of America for a 16 days Human Rights activism & Awareness program through IVLP to Washington DC, New York and Salt Lake City. She is the first trans sexual foreign national to be invited by the United States government. She has also been invited internationally to speak on marginalized people's rights. She has found Sahodari foundation, to help the transgenders get independence in life.

There are lots of transgenders, who have achieved a lot. But she is my personal favorite because, she is a writer. Her book, 'Kuri Aruthen' has won the Best Poet award from the Born2Win Trust, Chennai and she is also working on two other books presently. Another thing that makes her so special to me is the recent TEDx talk (Sep 2015). TEDx talk is a dream for many youngsters, especially me. She spoke on the title 'The necessity of social equality', which is really inspiring. Her dream which was once to interview the actress Suhasini (Wife of Manirathnam), came true, only to her surprise, it was Suhasini who was interviewing Kalki after the film Narthagi. She quotes in this talk, "If a boy who was searching who he was, when others were searching what to have as a career, is able to go a lot of distances in life after becoming a woman, then I believe anyone can do anything in this world. The achievements are not categorized according to gender. If you believe in yourself, then you can do anything." My interpretation of video is that, these words can be said by anyone. But she stands there in the stage, delivering a speech and the sentence, "I'm Kalki. I am a trangender and I'm proud of it", makes her unique.

So, here is a human, heightened by knowledge, proud for who she is and fighting for what people like her really want - respect and dignity from the society.

I mentioned about Kalki to show what the most of the transgenders lack- education, which she had the privilege of having (Yes. You are reading it right. Education , which is a fundamental right of every Indian becomes a privilege for transgenders) and hence made her stand apart from everyone. 

In my first post on transgenders, I promised that I would talk with Leela again, to convey that to her. Many people gave their views: what they thought about transgenders before reading the article and how the article changed their view. Many requested to talk to Leela as soon as possible and record her response. Yes, I did call her. It was after a long hesitation and fear. My fear was that she would have given me a wrong number. After sitting and thinking in front of the phone for a long time, I called the number Leela gave. The number rang. So, I was relieved that at least it was a number that worked. Then after four to five rings, I was attended by the same voice that spoke to me before and the good thing was that she remembered me as a girl who took her a picture. But I had to make a series of calls to get some response.
First call.. 9.30 AM
I was shy to talk and she was busy cooking. I thought, except me everybody in this world is busy and asked when to call her. I was given the time as 2.30.
Second call.. 2.30 PM
I have never been so punctual to call someone. I called her that day, again. I was sure this time what to talk. But, she was not. She replied with a fear. I could feel that in her voice, a fear of talking to a stranger. I asked her if she had a account in Facebook and if I could share the article with her. She said she had a account but in a boy's name. I wanted to ask her few more questions. But, she again cut me short and asked me to call her after sometime.
Third call.. 4.30 PM
This was the second time in my life I was calling someone on the time they gave. Yeah!! I called her again and this time the voice was different. I was afraid that she has given the phone to someone to scold me for disturbing her again and again. To my surprise, I learnt that it was her daughter (This girl- Poornima, again a transgender, called Leela her Amma when she spoke to me). She said her Amma was sleeping. I asked where they were living and with whom. She said they were three people living together in Nungambakkam. Poornima, Leela and Leela's mother (She did not say me her name, but said she was also a transgender). Leela was sleeping and so I decided to talk to Poornima.
"I was avoided by my family. I had no place to go and finally I was taken by my Amma.", she said. 
"Did you study?", it was me.
"Yes, I studied till 12th. The government helped me complete my studies.", she said.
"Wow!!! Then? Did you try to study after that?", I questioned her. 
"Yes. I wanted to study after that. But that is when my parents left me. They questioned me that what change would studying bring to me. I did not know what to say at that time."
Her voice trailed off.
"Its fine. Don't feel bad about that. But even if you cannot go to the college on daily basis, you can join distance education if you really want to study.", I suggested her.
"Yes, I can do. I should try that.", she said.
I also suggested her to find about Sagothari foundation run by Kalki and asked her to try getting some help from them.
I was a bit afraid to tell her but told this, "If you can start a shop or something like that, you will be treated differently. You will be treated with respect. The Sagothari foundation can help you that way or even I know how to make chocolates. If you are interested I can teach you how to make them and it will fetch you a lot of money. Actually, people will not look down upon you."
I don't know where did I get that strength. I talked continuously. 
Thank god. She did not cut the call. She should have understood my concern. 
"Yeah. If I have a thought, I will call you. Take my number too. In case if you want to talk anything, you talk to me. My mom feels uncomfortable to talk to strangers.", she said.
I thanked her for talking to me.
End of the call.

I feel what they need is not money. But, they need the courage to come out. They need acceptance. They need education to get all this. If not formal, an education to run a shop at least. Begging is not the way of life. I heard a friend saying to me, "Whenever I see a transgender demanding money from us, I do not get irritated. They demand because they feel that they have the right to do that. They feel that they would have become like us if they were given a chance."
My opinion goes with him. They are rejected for what they were not responsible. To finance the operation to convert their private parts itself becomes a challenge for them. Education becomes out of picture at an age they need it most. Support by the u r loved ones is not provided when they badly need it. They get a wrong impression that dressing and making up their face is the only thing they can do. This has to be changed. I don't have the idea how it can be done. But, will be proud to help them to the any extent. Yes, I believe I will do. If you can, don't hesitate. 
Accept them as who they are.

Post Script: I tried to serch Leela's FB page. But it was difficult to trace. I don't have the courage to call her again for that. The next time I call her, I would have figured out a way to help them all.

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