Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju is a Third year medical student at one of the foremost medical institutions in the country, Kasturba Medical College, and is trying to find her place in the medical fraternity and the world as a transgender woman.
With a flair for art, she continues to live life as true to her artistic self. She finds the operating room one of the safest and most accepting places to spend one’s time in, and finds it an artist’s sanctum. When she isn’t doing any of the above, she’ll be found working for her college clubs, using her voice on social media, singing, playing the guitar or watching Grey’s Anatomy.
OoWomaniya was recently in conversation with Trinetra. Some excerpts from that conversation.
How did the Angad Gummaraju decide to transition to Trinetra Gummaraju?
I was born male, and called Angad Gummaraju for 20 years. However, for as long as I can remember, something didn’t quite fit right. Something about my body always felt “wrong”. I never knew how to describe the feeling, and for years I suppressed it. However, throughout my childhood, it would keep coming back. The older I grew, I realized it wasn’t going to go away, and eventually I figured out that I liked men. I tried to accept myself as a gay man, and experimented with androgyny hoping to find relief. However, as this continued, and I turned 16, 17, 18 years old and I realized none of it was making the feeling go away. After a lot of introspection and therapy, I realized that the feeling was gender dysphoria and the only way I could realistically let it go, was to transition. I made the call about a year ago to transition.
What obstacles did you face socially, personally and biologically? How did you deal with them and continued with your transition journey?
Obstacles have had no beginning and no end for people like me, they’ve existed from time immemorial. Some of my earliest memories are of being bullied, pushed around, beaten, called names, on a daily basis. I had to grow up around that negativity continuously. As supportive as my parents are now, they tried very hard to make me “normal”, and they weren’t accepting for a long time. Constantly hating myself for being bullied, for being unacceptable, constantly hating my body, I had severe self esteem issues, so all I could do was study hard to make it through. I stuck to my passions, I never let go of my art, and I studied hard. Those things pulled me through the hard times.
What is your take on harassment, #MeToo movement? Has harassment affected you in any way?
Online harassment is almost an everyday occurrence, and lewd gazes and states are common place these days in public surroundings. A sense of entitlement is deeply entrenched in our society, resulting from centuries of patriarchy. No wonder harassment and assault are so rampant. I’m so glad the #metoo movement brought out thousands of stories, and made people realize just how common sexual assault is.
You are a vocal advocate of being someone whom you feel like being and you seem to have gone to great extent to be someone who you want to become. What is your advice to people who are in a similar position as yours?
I’ve always said, find what you like to do, and know that there is always help, there is always a way of doing it. Never let go of your passions in whatever small ways possible. Further, it ALWAYS gets better. This society is and always has been cruel to people who are the slightest bit different, and in this country, the gaay (cow) has more rights than a gay person, so you can imagine. However, there is a large community of us who are willing to help out and support. Circumstances do improve.
You are pursuing medicine, how are people in medical fraternity and your colleagues responding to your transition?
My colleagues are relatively normal about the whole thing. Management and doctors I meet are usually completely clueless about the concepts of gender and sexuality, or unwilling to talk about it. However, I have met several doctors and folks higher-up that are very supportive and willing to listen. It’s about carving a path, the best that you can.
Here, we present – The Girl In The Boys’ Hostel
A Short Film By Angad Gummaraju
(Trigger Warning: Suicide)
A term used to describe an individual whose psychological gender identity is different (the complete opposite or anything that differs) from their assigned gender at birth. The disconnect and discomfort experienced due to the body-mind mismatch by many transgender people is called Gender Dysphoria (GD).
Everyone on the LGBTQIA+ spectra in India is subject to the consequences of ignorance in a culture of misinformation.
It really is no surprise then, that 50% of the transgender people in India will attempt suicide at least once before age 20. Further, the suicide rate among transgender individuals in India is 31%.
In 2014, the landmark NALSA judgement by the Supreme Court of India gave legal recognition to the ‘transgender’ identity in addition to making provisions for inclusion in Indian society.
However, transphobia and homophobia continue to remain glued to the essence of this country like some of its archaic laws.