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The Girl In The Boys’ Hostel: Entering Medical School As A Trans Woman

Posted by Trinetra Haldar Gummaraju in Cake, LGBT+, My Story
November 15, 2017

Super long story short: I did something I’ve always wanted to do.

I created a short film that talks about something that haunts millions of us.

But I think, a back-story’s necessary. I’m really hoping you, dear reader, stick around for the whole of what I’m about to spill.

I’d be lying if I said I always felt different. For the first three years of my life, or at least the first three years that I can remember, I remember being entirely and completely infinite. No restrictions, no rules, no roles, just entirely limitless. My mother’s pieces of jewellery and my art supplies were my playthings. I would fantasize about painting entire walls a million colours whilst in a saree. All that changed very quickly when the friendly neighbourhood auntie decided to call me, the first grandson in the family, a freak.

I realised soon that I had parts different from girls and wasn’t technically “allowed” a lot of things girls were. I never understood why. I never understood why I was made fun of, roughed around and called ‘point-five’. When I finally learned fractions, I realised I was being called half-man-half-woman. Funny in retrospect, devastating at the time. Little did I know, this was just the start.

Growing up was an eclectic mix of rocky parent relationships, bullying, depression, and a whole lot of gender/sexuality related confusion. I stuck with my art, though. I’d find this sacred solace in it. It kept me sane. I’d actively participate in public speaking events, art-related events, and always topped my class. I was the unpopular nerdy misfit. I hated it, but it’s what would give me any street-cred later on.

Fast forward to the eleventh grade: my parents and the entire school knew I was into men. It had been quite the epic disaster. But I finally found friends, friends that remain close to me even today. Lo and behold, I’ve cracked the Karnataka State Entrance to make it to one of the best medical schools in the country. My mental health, self-esteem and confidence have only seen highs ever since, and for that, I’m extremely grateful. Of course, the issues I face today are of a magnitude far larger; it’s just that I have the mental strength to deal with all of it effectively. Some say I’ve turned cold. I believe I just process well, and I think that’ll make me a better doctor. It helps me subvert, it helps me stand up for what I believe in. It helps me walk college-fest ramps in six-inch stilettos, and sing on college fest stages with no flying fluorescent fucks to give.

College, I’d say, has changed me entirely. Medical school teaches you what the real world looks like. It shows you that beyond every ounce of baggage, we’re really all the same. It shows you suffering, it shows you disease. It shows you massive lows and overwhelming highs. It’s pretty fantastic, really. Today, I’m a proud transgender woman and a medical student with far healthier relationships with myself and my parents. My family’s the only reason I have the privilege of being myself in a society that celebrates misinformation. Here’s hoping the boys’ hostel is history soon.

I thoroughly enjoy the operating room. It’s the one place I can use my artistic skill in a humanitarian way, because surgery, I feel, is the noblest kind of art that exists. It’s also a fantastic equalizer: behind masks and gowns and scalpels, no one cares what lies between your legs, or who you sleep with, or what fabric you adorn outside of the OR.

You’re fire, you’re unstoppable, you’re a force of nature and you get to save lives. I want to be a surgeon, in addition to being an LGBTQ+ advocate. Okay, major Cristina Yang feels, amirite? Why can’t the scalpel be one of the many weapons I wield, I say? Sure, the medical fraternity may have a lot of nonsense to throw at my identity, but I’m confident I can handle it. I’m really hoping that my transition from Angad Gummaraju to Dr. Trinetra Gummaraju will work out. We’ll see. Baby steps. In heels. And peacock-blue sarees.

The privilege I keep talking about? I intend to use it fully. That’s the reason I decided I needed to create a short film that poetically, artistically and visually slaps you across the face. I want it to disturb, to show you what this society’s responsible for.

I will trigger-warn you: it’s graphic. Take that disclaimer seriously. So before I finally show you the link, here’s an illustration I did to represent my transition. Here’s to fierce, subversive, earth-shattering strength.

And finally, The Girl In The Boys’ Hostel:


Featured Art: “Trinetra”, Copyright, © fabuloufoetus

To see more of my art/life, check out my Instagram: