From semi-divine status to sex workers, Transgenders in our society have seen it all. In A Life in Trans Activism, A Revathi shares her journey towards the development of the sect, which was once considered as lucky and auspicious if they give you a boon, and now they are just victims of society’s prejudice and corruption.
In her previous book, The Truth About Me, A Revathi has shared her personal struggle to accept what she really was, a woman trapped inside a male body. She shares her struggle towards acceptance and then being proud of the choice that she made, to live like a transgender. In A Life in Trans Activism, Revathi shares her experience of helping other people of her committee, how she became the first transgender woman to get a passport from Indian authorities, how she shared these issues at a national and international level.
A Life in Trans Activism starts with Revathi’s story, a background of which I have already read in her previous book. She shares how she used to feel left out among kids her age, how she was constantly being mocked in her locality for walking like a woman and dressing like a woman. Once she decided to live like a woman only, she got in touch with a transgender community and asked them to take her in. She became a Chela and started learning the customary things to follow to achieve the position of a proper woman in the community.
The only mistake she made was getting her castration surgery done without proper two years of service as a Chela. She went under a sex change operation and started serving as a sex worker. And the hardship she goes through has been mentioned in such a way that will shake you up. The grotesque behavior of customers and police will leave you stumped! Whatever she used to earn, most of it was taken away by the head of her house where she used to serve and rest bribing away the goons who made her life a living hell. One day, going against the customs and traditions of the community, she became a mother for three Chelas whom she treated like her own blood and sweat. And this adoption changed a lot in her life. Through one of her Chelas, she came across an organization called Sangama, which puts Transgender rights forward in the society. Here, Revathi found herself a new purpose, a reason for existence. Further, she shares other stories from her life, stories that may give you a glimpse into the society that is so fake and treacherous and doesn’t take seconds to mark someone as an unnatural or outcast.
A Life in Trans Activism is a story that makes you sit up straight and think hard and strong over the years, how we have treated transgenders among ourselves and how much our leaders have done for them. Yes, there have been changes now, a new gender in every form and some jobs. But what we haven’t given them is the recognition and acceptance. We still consider them as unnatural humans, we still think in black and white. We still feel that many of them are faking to earn some money by begging. We still consider them as unsocial elements and make sure to stay as much as we can, away from them. And yet, when a new child comes into our home, we make sure to invite them to our home and celebrate with us. We still use their presence to ward off evil in our lives, but we don’t work on the evil and narrow thinking that prevails in our mind.
A Life in Trans Activism is a book that many of us won’t try and read. But then we humans have a history of being ignorant in our approach and thinking towards something different. So, today I ask you to pick up A Life in Trans Activism and read. Read it for a better world, to open our mind and heart towards fellow human beings whom we have ignored and despised for too long. Their anatomy may seem complicated to you, but once you read about it, you will be one of the many who would have taken a step towards making a country that doesn’t just think in black and white, but also in color.