By Janhavi Sharma:
It’s always inspiring to hear stories that resonate with the idea of feeling comfortable with oneself. The idea of accepting oneself as they are is perhaps the most liberating feeling.
The idea of gender binaries is strongly embedded in this rhetoric. Many people don’t identify with the sex that they are born with and feel like they are meant to be of a different sex and the cultural transformation that accompanies it.
One such person is Aryan Pasha.
He is a transman who has overcome gender stereotypes and has established himself as a well-known bodybuilder.
Here’s taking a look at his story:
Biologically born a girl as Nyla, she realised at a very early age, around the age of six, that she was meant to be a boy. When she insisted that she would only go to school wearing a boy’s uniform, things began to pan out more clearly.
As a young kid, Aryan was always into sports. However, he felt out of place and uncomfortable with the idea of always competing in the ‘women’s category’.
Much like anyone who is uncomfortable in their skin, he too began getting frustrated and felt a sense of alienation, sadness, dejection and anger, until his stepmom introduced him to the idea of being ‘transgender’.
After a lot of research, he was finally filled with a sense of assurance and satisfaction. He had finally found an end to his ambiguous identity.
His journey of self-acceptance wasn’t easy. However, he had the undying support of his family.
Initially, he struggled at puberty, discomforted by the process of menstruation, constant mockery, bullying etc.
He was even referred to as ‘Hijra’ in his school.
It took a complete psychological toll on him.
However, he strongly stood his ground.
When he was 18, he went through two major transitional surgeries and began identifying as a man. He was finally comfortable in his own skin.
“First, accept your own self. For me, my identity is the most important”, says Aryan.
Today, Aryan is at the top of his game.
He is a successful lawyer and is simultaneously pursuing his passion for bodybuilding.
His latest feat is absolutely remarkable.
On 1st of December, he secured the 2nd position in the bodybuilding competition, Musclemania India, out of a total of 125 fellow competitors. He has indeed, created history.
He competed in the Men’s Physique category.
“It was my dream to participate in Men’s category. Till now I have won medals in Female category. But this is what I wanted in my life – to compete with other men. I enjoyed every second when I was on stage because this is what I dreamt of. I was not nervous at all and just wanted to complete poses like a champion”, said Aryan.
It’s truly inspiring to see when people achieve what they want in life after overcoming all possible obstacles. Here is someone who transcended gender and social stereotypes in order to assert his identity as the man he is today.
Most often than not, transgender people have to face obstacles at the social, psychological and familial level, however, it’s imperative that social conditions be made conducive and sensitive to transgender people in order to make their journey of self-acceptance, just a little bit easier.
A version of this post was first published here.