This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Naimisha Speaks. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Transgender: Illusion of an identity.

More from Naimisha Speaks

Ms. Sadhana Mishra with the students of KISS.

With confusions and nervousness I dialed her number to get an opportunity to meet . A male voice came from the other end, expressing in the most polite manner how ‘she’ would love to meet me!
The other day it was Vijya Dashmi, before I wake up, I had already got a good morning call from ‘her’ to help me with the routes to her shelter.
As clouds played in the sky and I ignorantly walked out, little did I know I was going to meet the sun of courage or rather a courageous ‘son’ of change.

Dressed in a white salwar kameez and big red bindi on her forehead she welcomed me with a male voice echoing the love of a mother.

Born as Satya Sundar Mishra in an orthodox Brahmim family of Khendujhar, a rural town of Odisha, she walks with pride as she introduces herself as Ms. Sadhana Mishra, a transgender.
Walking down the muddy lanes of her slum turned home, I was embraced with love and holi colours on my face as the transgender community was celebrating the auspicious Vijyadashmi. Not only colours in the air but they were spreading colours in the smiles of various children by giving them free meals.

India, a home to 4.9 Lakh transgender yet thousands remain in the shackles of abuses, violence, sexual harassments, public humiliation and discrimination.

On April 15, 2014, the Supreme Court passed a landmark judgment recognizing the fundamental and civil rights of transgender persons but since then there has been very few changes in the social arena of the country and perspectives towards transgender.

The hate crime and violence towards transgender begins from an early age itself, with moist eyes Sadhana recalls how she used to get physically abused by her elder brothers, the series of teasing and humiliating comments she went through during her teenage. In 2006 she decided to reveal her identity, she was born with gender dysphoria but suddenly closing the doors of hope and support even her family abandoned her but amidst the moist eyes I see the spark of pride in her when she confessed proudly that she never compromised with her dignity. There were hard times when surviving was getting tough, getting two square meal a day was becoming a mirage but she never bent down to do odd jobs. Sadhana believes that her specialty of being blessed as a transgender was compulsively made to look like a disorder in many places. Her education was self funded by doing tuitions and she had to complete her education by suppressing her identity because the colleges and institutions did not provide admission to transgenders, raising serious questions on the aspects of equality.

“When I used to stand infront of the mirror I used to see the reflection of two sides of me. One was Satya Sundar Mishra and the other was Sadhana Mishra. I was born as an optimist person, I am not afraid to die if thousands come to attack me, I would rather fight and die. I am ready to die by bringing a change in the world. I love mountains of problems, I am willing to climb all such mountains to conquer my goal.”

There was a certain point in life when she fell in the trap of suicide but now looking back at that specific day, she believes it as a re-birth. It gave her the courage to stand for everyone who are dying everyday. It gave her the courage to stand in international sphere such as leadership program and get honoured by the then President of United States of America, Barack Obama. Presently, serving as the social development officer of world’s largest tribal school (Kalinga Institute of Social Stuudies) simultaneously working with various organizations such as UNDP and many more.

As the coffee was getting colder and rain was hitting the window pane, the conversation was getting warm, with curiosity I burst out with certain questions that were tangling in my mind.

In a country where women are subjected to harrassment, cage of freedom and violence then what made her willingly choose a life of a woman? What is her feminist perspective?

She smiles as she offers me to have the cup of coffee and narrates “I believe change starts with us and change ends with us. First, we need to change our perspective and that will follow all around. For me feminism is self and mutual respect and dignity. In most of the atmosphere you will find people worshipping Maa Durga and at other places molesting a women and disrespecting her. It shows the double standard of the society and that needs to be challenged. In many mythological stories and in realities people often approach transgender for blessings but why nobody ever invites us to to be a part of their festivals and celebration? “

As rain rests and sun was making it way amidst the clouds of hurrdles, Sadhana questions why the country categorised her as a ‘Third Gender’ who even decides the concept of first and second gender. Her voice chuckles with spirit and enthusiasm as she smiles at me and says, “There is a long battle ahead.”

As she hired an Auto for me and I was making my way to home, somewhere still lost in her positive energy, the auto driver took no minutes to inquire from me what was I doing in transgender area and what kind of job I am upto. Sadly, my answers to convince him about equality and change in perspective was not fruitful. In one hand of the society we find aspiring Change makers like Sadhana Mishra and in other hand we find victims or Victors of stereotypical mindset .

Sadhana is one example, there are lakhs of Sadhana who are battling everyday, every minute the humps of acceptance, equality, Liberty and survival. There maybe one Sadhana in you and one in me who are hiding beneath the prejudice of this harrowing time.

What the Indian Constitution guarantees;

Echoing the words of Equality, Liberty and Justice that traces the very beginning of Indian Constitution, somewhere today it stands as mere words.
• Article 14. Article 15 speaks about the prohibition of discrimination on the ground of religion, race, caste, sex or place of birth.
• Article 21 ensures right to privacy and personal dignity to all the citizens.
• Article 23 prohibits trafficking in human beings as beggars and other similar forms of forced labor and any contravention of these provisions shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.

Section 377 of IPC
It criminalizes same sex relations among consenting adults. In Jayalakshmi v. State of Tamil Nadu, Pandian, a transgender, was arrested on charges of theft by the police. He was sexually assaulted in the police station which ultimately led him to immolate himself.
The judgement of Court in famous Koushal’s case notes that Section 377, though associated with specific sexual acts, speaks of only certain identities, including Hijras. It also recognises that it has has been used as an instrument of harassment and physical abuse against Hijras and transgender individual.
The judgment only says that this amounts to a misuse of the Section as opposed to what it actually dictates, thus refusing to meaningfully apply a fundamental rights analysis to it.
Now we have a clearly contradictory finding.
It argues against Koushal’s infamous ‘miniscule minority’argument noting that Transgenders even though insignificant in numbers, are still human beings and therefore they have every right to enjoy their human rights.
The Court finds that discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity violates Article 14, and that transgenders are extremely vulnerable to harassment, violence and sexual assault in public spaces, at home and in jail, also by the police. If we are to read this with their finding that 377 is used to harass and physically abuse transgender persons, we can clearly make the link that 377 fails the litmus test of equality under the Constitution.

From Hindu Mythology to Islamic culture Transgender have always played a vital role, rising from the dilemmas of the acceptance and discriminations, transgender community looks forward for a more empathic society standing on the core pillar of equality for all. No Constitution can ever be bigger than the conscience of individuals, it is time to introspect into the ground realities of the society and implementation of the rights, maybe then we can someday call ourselves as a progressive citizen of a progressive nation.



A special Thanks to Ms.Pratikshya Priyadarshini for sharing her paper on this specific topic.

With the students.

Youth Ki Awaaz is an open platform where anybody can publish. This post does not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions.

You must be to comment.
  1. Ellora Sarangi


More from Naimisha Speaks

Similar Posts

By Imran Ghazi

By Imran Ghazi

By Anish Bachchan

    If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

      If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        If you do not receive an email within the next 5 mins, please check your spam box or email us at

        Wondering what to write about?

        Here are some topics to get you started

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

        Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

        Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

        The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

        Read more about his campaign.

        Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

        Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

        Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

        Read more about her campaign.

        MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

        With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Read more about her campaign. 

        A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

        As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

        Find out more about the campaign here.

        A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

        She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

        The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

        Read more about the campaign here.

        A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

        As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

        Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

        Find out more about her campaign here.

        Share your details to download the report.

        We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

        A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

        A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

        Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

        A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
        biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

        Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
        campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

        Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below