NEW DELHI: Anshuman Singh has made peace with the fact that social acceptance will not happen overnight. Back at his village in Uttar Pradesh’s Farrukhabad district, Supreme Court’s landmark judgement on the dilution of Section 377 may have little relevance.
The 27-year-old who works at The LaLiT as a human resource trainee narrates his transition from Shwetanjali to Anshuman.
Born to a farmer and a homemaker, Anshuman narrates how there was no “overreaction” when he broke the news to his parents that he would want to transition to a man. Even though he felt “trapped in a wrong body”, he was certain to not go ahead with sex reassignment till his family came on board.
Chopping hair short, permanently donning “only shirt pants”, battling the confused stares of neighbours was only the beginning of his battle to negotiate the gender identity in society.
“I waited for my sister’s consent and she would not budge. Finally when she gave in, I went ahead with the process.”
Even though Anshuman did not fight discrimination in the private space for being a transsexual person, he battled it at his workplaces. At The LaLiT it is different, he points out.
The hotel group has employed nine transgender individuals — seven in Delhi and two in Bengaluru — to build an inclusive and diverse environment. Transgender persons have been given different work profiles here, ranging from being placed in gate management, accounts management, handling reservations, food and beverage services, laundry services and in public relations. “It is a safe environment for transgender people as the staff is sensitised of the issue,” he says.
For Kiara Iyer, a PR executive at Kitty Su, The LaLiT’s nightclub, parental support was a factor for choosing to transition from a man to a woman. Growing up, Kiara took some time to interpret her sexuality. The puzzle gave way to clarity after she headed for counseling session to understand herself better.
After leaving her home in Kolkata to study in Chennai, Kiara decided to start her process of transition in her final year of graduation.
“I will be soon going for my sex reassignment surgery (SRS). I am looking forward for a new life altogether. I am looking forward to the change and the way people will look at me,” says the 29-year-old as she nears of what she “has dreamt since 2008”.
Kiara passionately talks about her work as a PR executive and her life beyond it. “I love painting, architecture and inspirational videos. Babies and animals make me smile.” For Lavanya Rajpoot, 25, getting rid of her identity as a man which has been a burden for years now came at a cost. Trading Manish Chauhan to be Lavanya also meant severing ties with his family.
She calls The LaLiT home now where she works as a guest service associate for the past three months.
“The guests and visitors are quite inclusive. I have not felt discriminated against here as it promotes an inclusive environment,” she adds.
Cross-dressing and shuttling between gender identities and jobs is going to be a thing of the past, she says. “Now, we can live proudly.”
As for Anshuman, there are two battles to be won — to counsel transgender people understand their sexuality better and to marry his girlfriend. He is yet to undergo the SRS. “But I have my dad’s support even when I choose to marry. I am not worried,” chuckles the young man.