21st November 2020
Feminism in India (Source: Trinetra Haldar)
When one first meets Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju, a fourth-year medical student studying in a private medical college in Karnataka, it’s easy to imagine the struggles she must have gone through to get where she is, but hard to truly comprehend the kind of will it takes to overcome all of them. She is now set to proudly become the state's first trans-woman doctor in the year 2021, and her journey has made history and helped spread so much awareness.
Trinetra, born in Bengaluru as Angad Gummaraj, underwent gender confirmation surgery abroad in February of this year. Post-surgery, she named herself Trinetra after Goddess Kali.
At the age of 23, the medical student has solidified her spot as an outspoken activist, both online and offline. She is a famous vlogger, activist and artist, her YouTube channel 'The Trinetra Method', where she regularly shares her transition journey has more than 7000 subscribers. She often uses her Instagram profile, which has more than 1 lakh followers, to teach people about gender and problems faced by trans people.
She recently shed light on her challenging but rewarding path in an interview with the online catalogue, 'Humans of Bombay'. "When I was born, my family was overjoyed at their first-born child – a son. But I never thought of myself as a boy. I'd wear Maa's saree, put on her make-up and parade around the house. Initially, everyone found it cute, but when they saw this 'phase' go on for longer than expected, they hid these items from me, saying 'you're too old for this'," Trinetra revealed to them.
Trinetra faced bullying and harassment from a tender age which affected her mental health immensely and led to self-harm and thoughts of wanting to meet society's set standards of 'normal'. She tried to be masculine by showing interest in sports to please her father but hated it internally. Even teachers in her school were not accepting of her as they made her read aloud in class only to mock her voice
Studies became Trinetra's escape. She realised her dream of using her knowledge in the operating room and is working hard to become a surgeon.
Being a medical student, Trinetra has had to face shocking instances like finding out that homosexuality is treated as a psychological condition in medical textbooks. There is still a long way to go before sexual minorities are recognised for who they are.
Trinetra's parents, although in denial when she first came out to them, have accepted her since she got the surgery. They threw a party for her after her surgery and celebrated her new identity. Trinetra wishes to have her own biological child through surrogacy in the future and has preserved her sperm in a sperm bank.
Her story teaches us something we already know, there is dire need for change when it comes to the Indian education system. It needs to be made more inclusive and informative in terms of providing opportunities to students from all kinds of backgrounds.
(Sources: The Times of India, Hindustan Times, Feminism In India, Red Heart)
Edited by: Suditi Jha