Cross Roads

-of Sujatha Maghizhinii

I was 15, when I came out of my house, to become a Woman, to my Friends, family, and anyone in the world. I was assigned a boy at birth and raised as a boy, I often wondered why I was born a boy.

Sujatha Maghizhini, 35, is an LGBTQ advocate, a journalist, and a professional HR. People now do not recognize me as a Boy or transgender, but I am now recognized and seen as a woman. This is my humble attempt to try to write my story, the challenges I faced to get to the point where I am now.

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My mother was scared when she came to know I am Transgender. She was scared that I also will become one of them. I will also end up begging or becoming a prostitute. I wanted to prove
her wrong. I used to ask, aren’t we part of the same society which is pushing transgender into begging and prostitution. This is when I decided to work towards the upliftment of my community.

There was a point in my life when I did not share my thoughts, I could not speak out to someone about what I felt, how I felt, with the fear of me being judged. I could not share my thoughts with anyone as I did not want them to be judged. Between the rigid definitions of Gender, a world of new identity gave me a moment of freedom, liberty and gave me the courage to face the world with my new identity.

I am born and brought up in Chennai, 3rd born of 2 sisters and a brother, I didn’t want my identity to hinder the lives of my sisters. In my childhood, I was scared, when I saw transgender walking onthe street or when they come to my home, that they would change me, or take me. Until I realized that it was the society that needs to be changed.

I have completed my PG Diploma in social initiative management, and currently working as an HR and Marketing executive with implements Retail Private Limited. I recall the challenges and loneliness I endured, especially when I came in terms of men in our society. Men used to tease me when I walk in the streets, when I play with other kids, by looking at my feminine attributes. People of our Indian society always have many collective Nouns and names for transgenders like me. I get angry when someone calls me names or teases us. We are also part of society and we need to have a complete understanding of our society. We work to protect our rights, address the issues faced by society, and make the world realize the unique talent of each of us amongst public. 

 

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When I stood at the beach, watching people like me I realized that I am not alone. There are lot of other human beings like me, who are waiting to be recognized on their existance. It was during my school days, I felt sad, when I cannot share how I feel to any one. Those days we were not even accepted as a gender. In schools Lady teachers were understanding, and they understood how I felt and supported me. I lost interest in schooling post 10th, and I spoke to people from Sahodharan. 

It was during that time, I understood who I am. People there helped and supported me. We used to dress up to quench our feminine desire only to change our dresses and go back to our painful real life. I was happy during the time we spent there, before facing the harsh reality of the world that in 2005, I came out of my home and started working part-time and full time in various roles that life gave me. I worked on our outreach program conducted by Sahodharan to give awareness of HIV, distribute condoms, and counsel my people. In 2012, I engaged with “Thozhi” an organization that supports LGBTQ, as an associate and worked my way to become a program officer. I finished my PG Diploma in social initiative management so that I can get a job and a designation for myself. does not understand us. 

I realized there are a lot of challenges faced by my community, people like me cannot get a house for rent. The government does not recognize us to provide employment. People do not trust us and feel we are wrong kind of people. Transgenders in India are usually associated with Begging and prostitution and hence there is a lot of social Stigma to provide us with opportunities to work anywhere. We never had our own documents to show identity, so we can get the benefits from the government. Even in the personal realm, we are ostracized and isolated.

I dream, of one day the world will start understanding us and accepting us. I dream of getting married to a person who can accept me as a woman, and understands that I cannot have children. Government still does not support Adoption by transgenders in India.

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I am thankful to Madhumitha Madam, the Thozhi organization and all my close and dear friends for supporting me to get to this point. I thank our management in the organization where I work, for providing me with the opportunity to understanding that I am transgender. I would be happy if I can do my smallest bit to the world to change and to change the world we need to change the society; for society to change we need to change the family. For Family to change, we need to change ourselves. 

From Cross Road to being Re-born as a Woman to our society.

– Written By SAP Volunteers for SAP stories