Coming out is a process that is, more often than not, something you do each and every day of your life. You grow and you start believing that what once seemed impossible has now become possible.
For me, coming out was never about momentary coagulation. It was a pile-up of incidents, moments, situations, and, most importantly, the combination of all of these. If I talk about my own experiences as a young trans man, I have realized that at many points, the more the acceptance, the easier and more effective my coming out became. I got to meet more people from the community in the cities I traveled to.
I have realized there are people like me with whom I could be myself and I don’t have to yell at the top of my lungs for their acceptance or to let them know that I am not the ‘only one of my kind’.
Moving to Delhi has been a major turning point in my life. I got the confidence to wake up and say I am not a ‘biologically-born’ man, and at the same time say that I was satisfied with who I am and that I love myself.
Loving myself has been tough. It was a long-overdue feeling I had to continuously battle for. It was hard for me to keep being with myself after constantly dealing with depression and anxiety for most of my teenage life. Often, when I try sitting down to think about how I found my refuge in friendship, I consider myself privileged, for I always had someone or the others around me, through all the rough times in my life. I didn’t know it at the time, but that helped me to continue living, in spite of getting pulled in by suicidal thoughts at various times.
My first encounter with a trans man in Delhi was through a casual meet up. As two socially awkward people, all we were able to do was to ask each other, back and forth, for a smoke. But that’s how we started breaking the ice.
I remember the restaurant was a queer-friendly one. The menu had little apart from some Italian dishes. I chose to order something called a “Green French salad”. My friend, seeing me order a salad, thought, “Okay, so this guy seems quite fancy.” On the other side of the table, however… that was the first time I had ever had something like a salad. In fact, I had no clue what to do with the lettuce that was left on my plate. I remember asking my friend, “What about these leaves? Are they supposed to be eaten or left?”
And then we both burst out laughing.
This is an incident that always makes me believe that bonding with another person is a real joy. It is about beyond the dimension of transhood that makes you develop friendships.
The second person I started interacting with was from Dehradun who was studying in Delhi. We hit it off from the very beginning and used to meet almost every weekend. Most of the time, we went out dancing till our feet gave up, and always ended up talking about life. It felt like nothing else mattered beyond both of us spending time together.
I feel building up a friendship with people is not only about finding solace but it is also about sharing a common ground. It is also about bringing positivity into each other’s lives, no matter how uncertain things can get at times.
It was a long process, from beginning to where I am today, but now I have made friends with many trans men in Delhi, and even beyond.
As per my experience, I feel the definition of masculinity most of the time intersects with what state you come from. You could be a trans man belonging to Northeast India or a trans man hailing from the mainland. However, it is a true friendship that makes a common ground between two people, and that’s what stays with you.
There will always be a struggle—sometimes relating to your existence, to where you were raised, to what background you come from, and what language you speak. But even as I gauge these differences, I form bonds with people in whatever possible way I can.
The struggle is real and it will stay with me, and I may find myself feeling a little forlorn. However, it is important to not give up. I am happy to explore myself and I am sure these are the experiences that will play a major part in it.