THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Abel Abin, who was raised as a girl, was in Class X when he realised he was attracted to other girls. "I was confused about my identity and even thought myself to be a lesbian. I had no support from my family. Frustrated, I attempted suicide thrice," he says. Hailing from Alappuzha, Abel finally left his home for Chennai at the age of 18.
Things were far from better even then. Abel struggled to find a place to stay and even spent nights on the street. “Although I knew about my transgender identity, I used to wear women's clothes. This scared me as I liked wearing men's wear. After struggling a lot, I finally found myself a job at a call centre in Chennai. However, I still didn't know how to deal with my identity and suffered depression,” says Abel. Though he got married last year, the relationship did not work.
Another transgender person, Siddharth from Malappuram, also had to struggle after he came to know about his identity. At the age of 15, he realised that he was not like his other female friends. Scared, he chose to remain silent but had to eventually leave his home.
Thanal, the newly opened short-stay home at Kunnukuzhy in the capital, is offering an abode to transmen like Abel and Siddharth who have no place to stay after being rejected by their family members. The project was launched under the Social Justice Department's Mazhavillu scheme. Abel, who is an inmate at Thanal, says, “The short-stay home as its name suggests is a haven for people like us. More than transwomen, transmen suffer a lot as there is no support from the family.”
Currently, the only inmate in the shelter home, Abel is undergoing treatment for sex reassignment surgery. "My dream is to secure a good job and take my mother along with me to Chennai,” he says.
Siddharth, who stayed in Thanal for a week, has reunited with his family who decided to accept him in his way. Soon after the project was announced, eight transmen submitted a request for admission. However, only two of them turned up.
The facility at Kunnukuzhy has the capacity to accommodate 25 persons who can avail the facility for a maximum of three months. “During their stay, the inmates are provided free medical care and food. Medical care is provided by the Government Medical College Hospital through its Community Medicine Department,” says Prijith P K, president of Queerythm.