Courageous Transman

Courageous Transman

Siddhant was formerly called Sonal, a 39-year-old extremely good looking transman who works as a recruitment consultant at an HR firm in Mumbai. He started his journey of transitioning into a man eight years ago, back in the year 2012. He eventually changed his name to Siddhant and quit his job as Sonal to rejoin the same workplace as Siddhant. This is his story, a story of a courageous transman.

Courageous Transman - Siddhant - Queer Voices of India

How was your childhood? Was puberty difficult?

My childhood was disturbing and it became worse when I hit puberty. My body was changing and I was feeling extremely uncomfortable about it. I knew I was different, but I could not understand what was different in me. I remember the trauma I used to endure when I used to get my monthly periods.

My body was changing and I was feeling extremely uncomfortable about it.

Did you get bullied while you were a child? How did you deal with it?

I was not bullied as such but my relatives constantly told me to behave like a girl. I was very close to my mother and she never interfered with the clothes I wore, but my relatives reprimanded me regularly about my body language and choice of clothes which in a way affected my self-confidence.

Courageous Transman - Siddhant - Queer Voices of India
Picture Courtesy : QGraphy

You said you thought you were lesbian at first. How did you figure out you are a transman?

I was always attracted to women. When I met my first lesbian friend in 2006, I realized, I was different from her. She was very comfortable with her body and I was not. I did not know back then what gender dysphoria felt like.

While my lesbian friend liked being treated as a woman, I wanted to be treated and addressed as a man.

In 2008, I became friends with an individual on Orkut, a social networking site that was popular back then. He introduced me to the term ‘transman’. He was a transman himself. We talked about his life and how he felt about himself and his body.  Finally, I met someone who I can relate to. His thoughts and feelings matched with mine and that’s how I figured out I am not a lesbian but a transman.

Courageous Transman - Siddhant - Queer Voices of India

Did your family support you with your transition?

After my mother passed away, I decided to initiate my transition. I was living with my father and still live with him. My father and I were never close. I spoke to him rarely. Telling him about my decision to transition was extremely overwhelming as I did not know how he would react.

When I told my father I wanted to transition, he said he always knew there was something different about me. He was supportive of my decision.

While my maternal aunts have been supportive, my brother and his family have stopped talking to me. He and his family fear the opinion the society, in general, would have about me.

Courageous Transman - Siddhant - Queer Voices of India

Did your friends help you in your transition?

My best friends helped me a lot during my transition. They were my backbone. They stayed with me during my surgery and took care of me.

Is your workplace accepting of you?

I have realised acceptance is a gradual process. It takes a lot of patience and perseverance to change mindsets. I have been working in my current organization for a really long time. It took my colleagues time to get used to the change and get used to my new name. Now I feel they have started accepting me.

Courageous Transman - Siddhant - Queer Voices of India

What are the steps of transitions?

The first step is to obtain one or sometimes two GD (Gender Dysphoria) certificates from a trans-friendly Psychiatrist.  The next step is to consult an Endocrinologist. The endocrinologist prescribes hormones for hormone replacement therapy. Without the GD certificate, the Endocrinologist won’t prescribe hormones. After successfully taking hormones for about 6 months, one can opt for a top surgery after consultation with an endocrinologist. The top surgery involves removal of the breast (glands and fat). Once the body heals, after a few months, one is ready for the bottom surgery.

Courageous Transman - Siddhant - Queer Voices of India

Was it difficult for you? What were the challenges that you faced while you were transitioning?

Yes, it was difficult. Transitioning from one gender to another is a very stressful and a long process. It is physically and mentally exhausting. There were many challenges. The biggest challenge was to explaining everyone about transgender people especially transman. Apart from the stigma, finances were also a huge challenge as surgeries require a lot of money.

Transitioning from one gender to another is a very stressful and a long process.

How expensive is the entire process of transition?

A top surgery can cost anywhere from 50 thousand rupees to 1.5 lakh rupees. Bottom surgery is more expensive. It can cost around 6 to 10 lakh rupees. The cost can be higher if the surgery is done abroad.

Courageous Transman - Siddhant - Queer Voices of India

How did you manage funds for your transition?

When I came out to my company’s head, he asked me how can he help me.  When I told him about the surgery, my company gave me a loan. I still feel extremely grateful for his gesture. One of my best friends also helped me out with the finances. she gave me the remaining amount so I could undergo the surgery.

Courageous Transman - Siddhant - Queer Voices of India

How is your life now? How does it feel to be a courageous transman?

Life is much balanced now. I have found a balance between my body and soul. Personal life is amazing as I can roam freely in the society as a man, go to the gym and build a body which I always aspired.

My father still needs to completely accept me as his son. I understand it must be difficult for him as well.

Having said that, my aunts and uncles are making an effort. They try to call me by my new name which makes me feel really good. Professionally, since I am recruitment consultant I need to interact with people every now and then. In the past, it was a torture to introduce myself as a woman but now I proudly introduce myself as a man, as Siddhant.

To know more about Siddhant, follow him on @siddy1978