I was touched with the story of Hannah when he shared about the struggles he faced during his transformation from a female to a male. After knowing a lot about him, the curiosity in knowing views of a transgender about the society has increased in me. The night before my talking session with Hannah, I have prepared a few basic yet controversial question to ask Hannah. For god's sake, everything went well. We were sipping our cold coffees in Cafe Coffee Day in Lajpatnagar. I have heard a lot of struggling stories of Hannah and his love story with Tabassum. Then, I felt like posing the questions I wrote on a tissue paper for him. Well, that's how I deal with my meetings, too basic yet too interesting. He didn't resist answering any of my questions, he proudly and happily answered every single question and every single answer was totally bottom of his swollen heart with scars!
Though Hannah is from Bangalore, South Indian Muslim family, his whole transformation has happened in the capital city of India, Delhi. In fact, he met his love, Tabassum in this monumental city and hence, I have asked questions about the queer lifestyle scenario in Delhi and how he faced the struggles and criticized by people in Delhi and all his consequences of being a Trans-man in Delhi. Well, here are his answers in his own words!
Conservative or Orthodox, select a word for Delhi society.
Are you people into PDA?
Yes, we show our love and we are comfortable in Public Display of Affection. I love holding hands of Tabassum.
How do you feel about being a Muslim and Islam?
I embrace my religion. I'm a Muslim who loves his religion. The Prophet never told to disgrace Transgenders and he indeed used to respect them.
Few words to Society.
Society is misleading the facts and diluting the mindsets. People should be straightforward in dealing with others and at the same time, they must also think at least once before they speak out. Because some words would be really hurting the self-respect of a person.
What will you do if you get a chance to change society?
I try to change the mindset of people and will enlighten them by sharing my knowledge about the LGBT community and their behaviors to people in slums, kids and elder people who aren't aware of these terminologies, behaviors, and orientations.
What change do you need from people right now to deal with you?
Accept me as a man.
What kind of clothing do you like to prefer for yourself?
Obviously, all the men and macho clothing. My fashion transformation has taken place on September 2018. I cut my hair and shifted to basic men's clothing.
Do you think Pride Marches bring change to society?
Of course Yes, but they mostly bring change to Open LGBT people rather than closeted ones. They must empower to make people come out of the closet and India is getting improved day by day in this issue.
One Phrase to Indian parents
Talk to your child patiently and try to understand them and their feelings.
Do you feel being degraded?
Most of the times. Some people's mindset actually degrades me more than anything else.
Are you planning to marry Tabassum?
Yes, that's actually my next plan soon after my whole transformation. In fact, we are thinking to make babies too!
Is the surgical transformation is required to prove yourself as someone you wanted to?
It is damn important for me to match my soul with my body.
Being gay I couldn't relate myself to a transgender, but people refer me as a transgender sometimes, what will you say to them?
Those people simply showcase their stupidity and uneducated minds. Gays and Transgenders are totally different. Transgender is a term for blended soul and body.
After your whole transformation, what box you want to check in any application form?
Well, I want to check the box of Male. After my transformation, I'm no more a transgender, my body would be matched with my soul like any other male.
Two offensive things LGBT community people should not do.
Being too calm and being too aggressive. We just need to know how to act according to the situations. Transgenders actually get more aggressive on the roads. They just tease normal people to seek some attention. But that shouldn't be done. If we want to be accepted as normal, we must behave in a normal way.
Do straight people understand and accept you like yourself?
I don't know. I haven't opened myself so much too straight people. Sex education must be important for them to know about every orientation.
Queer has been defined as sexual minorities. What do you say about it?
We are trying to develop and escalate the queer scenario in India. And when we are doing that, we should be no more treated as sexual minorities. We all must be treated equally in society.
Do you ever feel getting back to your old closeted days rather than struggling so much being open about your orientation?
I didn't feel bad about missing my past, though I missed an elite life back in Bangalore. As money is everything, I have dreams of building my own empire and to lead a luxurious life.
What about your social life in and around Delhi and in the LGBT community?
I made some good friends in Delhi and I know many people who are Transgenders. Everyone is quiet socializing. Hence, my social life is going good in Delhi. I always feel proud that the person behind the Supreme Court's judgment is also a Transgender.
Mention some bad consequences you have faced during your stay in Delhi?
I stopped traveling in Metros, because of the body checking issues in metro stations. I felt so embarrassed and scared when one of the security guards has continuously asked me about my gender. I was in denim and shirt, totally looking like a male but my breast fat and timidness made him doubt about me and my gender. Since then, I have avoided traveling in metros.
Once I got beaten up so badly in the streets of Nizamuddin, just because I was roaming with Tabassum. They bashed me when they found that a girl was roaming with a person like me in a romantic way. That night was so scary for me and Tabassum has dealt the situation in a good way. She took good care of me.
Since then, I started covering myself with bags and oversized shirts. I used to tighten up my breast fat using a belt to look on the front side so that people would stop criticizing me. I have faced a lot of bad consequences when I used to travel in airports and metros because the security check used to keep me under the utmost physical and mental pressure to reveal my identity. I wish all these come to an end after I successfully get transformed surgically on a whole. As of now, I'm okay in dealing with people because I'm in the middle of my transformation process.
Finally, one suggestion for me?
Please spread the transparency of the LGBT community in the society and many people have to open up themselves and come out like the way they wanted to be treated and the way they want to live. Enlighten and Educate people more. And also inspire them to loosen up themselves to share their stories as I did.
Our coffees got over and my questions for Hannah has also come to an end. It was great knowing such normal yet interesting people like Hannah. I always felt glad meeting, knowing and writing about Hannah and his untold story. There are many stories like Hannah, that are untold and hidden in the nooks and corners of India. I really wish the story of Hannah, inspires a lot of people out there to come out of the closets, to struggle and also to fulfill the dreams and finally to lead a life they love.
Hope I get to write a lot of "Transformed" stories of India. Remember one thing, leading a life of a Transgender is not at all easy and please respect the person for being a human being regardless of the orientation. Treat a person as himself and don't degrade the self-respect of any human being you know. Because everyone wants to be treated like the way how you want to be treated. It's definitely not an end and surely I come up with a new story, new struggles, and new characters.