‘I will get to live as my true self once I stand on my own feet’
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‘I will get to live as my true self once I stand on my own feet’

Tanvi Nair constantly struggled with her gender identity

‘I will get to live as my true self once I stand on my own feet’

New Delhi: You are blessed if you can live as your true self because many don't even get a chance to live as they are. Once you hear their stories, you will realise what they have gone through and are going through just because society still lives in their misconception. The month of June is marked as the Pride Month for LGBTQIA+. It is celebrated worldwide. More than a celebration, it is inclined to raise awareness among people who have little to absolutely no knowledge about their community.

Tanvi Nair, 30, a proud trans woman, a data analytics professional working for a major financial servicing company in Bangalore, had an uneasy childhood which many of us can't even imagine. She constantly struggled with her own gender identity. She hails from a small town and belonged to a lower-middle-class family. For her family, the main battle was to make ends meet. Tanvi kept fighting with her own identity which was not only hidden from her surroundings but also her  parents.

“I lived a life of pretence on the outside and explored my authentic self in the moments of solitude I found at home when no one was around. Even in those moments of solitude and happiness, my eyes were glued to the gate that could be seen through the living room window to ensure that no one was coming in and my secret remained hidden. Hence, the feeling of happiness in my solitude was always mixed with fear of being found out,” she said.

Her confusion on the inside reflected on the outside in her life where she was in a constant state of confusion with the smallest decision in her day to day life. With all the struggles in fighting from herself somehow, she grew up, she thought that life would become better once she accepts her authentic self once she stands on her own feet.

“The journey to get there was not that easy, my secret was indeed caught during a bad incident in college, where I was caught dressed like a woman and harassed for it both by the college authority as well as the local police. I was enrolled as a male student at the college. That wasn’t the end of it, I had to study in the same college for the next three years which I somehow lived through and came out the other side with a Master’s degree in Statistics,” she said.

She was indeed a hustler, coming from a lower-middle-class family, she was required to support herself for continuing her education. She started doing odd jobs like delivering newspapers, couriers, including supporting her father at his breakfast stand, when she was still studying in her college. She completed her post-graduation and moved to Pune. She got her first job, which didn't pay her much, but after one year, she got another job that gave her the opportunity to learn and grow. She worked for 6 years in that particular company in which she got promoted 5 years in a row, all because of the passion and dedication that she put into her work. When she became financially independent, she started thinking about transitioning as she thought earlier.

“I went through months of therapy to resolve the anxiety as well as depression that came along with the dysphoria. Also coming out was not  easy, I lost many friends in the process but the ones stuck around really were there for me. Last year I accidentally posted my pictures as Tanvi on my FB profile and by the time I took it down it was too late. In those moments, I felt that there was a big hole in my stomach and my intestines were taken out. It is a difficult feeling to explain in words. I took a day off from work the next day and wrote a coming out post and put it up with the same picture again,” she said.

She also added, “The response I got was mostly positive but there will always be some bad elements that come with the good ones. The most hurtful one I can remember is a friend asking my brother to have my parents move in with him instead of allowing them to stay with me any longer given the shame I had brought to them. But my family stood by me and answered every one of them.”

After all this with the support of Periferry, which is a social enterprise in India that creates employment and upskilling opportunities for the transgender community, Tanvi got an opportunity  to interview for a major multinational financial servicing company last year and got the job for the same. Now she is on a journey in finding her true self while working with an inclusive organisation.  She also supports her family financially and thinks that it is her independence that has led to the acceptance by her family.

With this, she has also started the “Ally Nation Project” which aims in giving free gender sensitisation training to everyone. She is also a core committee member of the pride business resource council, where she gets to participate in multiple diversity and inclusion initiatives in her organisation.

“When it comes to Trans inclusion, we still have a very long way to go. A few months ago, a trans woman in Kerala had to fight for her right to join NCC as a female cadet which was already given to her via the bill. She won the case in the high court but the central government and NCC raised a petition against it. These things do make me sad wherein the government passed the bill amidst protest from the community on certain aspects of the bill but still can’t stick to the provisions of the bill which they framed themselves,” she said.

Trans inclusion does have the bill passed on in their favour but continues to fight for it. It is still a long race to win.