For Vinni, for as long as he remembers, his body has never felt right, comfortable and at one with his mind. For years, having waged a lonely and seemingly never-ending battle between his body and mind, it took eons to finally find the courage to end this ensuing hostility and own the story of his life. Opening up about the story of his life with News18’s Ayushi Gupta has finally given him the hope that there is ‘always light at the end of the tunnel.’
School and Formative Years
I was born in a female body which always felt wrong because I was different in my mind, my soul. And this conjugation of my soul and body resulted in anxiety and self-hatred. I finished by elementary and secondary education in Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan schools in different cities as my father was in a transferable job. School was a fun place until the wrong puberty hit me and I started to understand different genders and realized that I am not comfortable with who I am physically. For me home was fine as I was mostly occupied with academics but school uniform was somehow a major issue for me. I had to wear salwar suit with a pleated dupatta which used to bother me like it was an added punishment along with going through a puberty in a sex I did not identify with. Sports never let my school life become dull as I was a national level Volleyball player in school. Whenever I was on the ground with the volleyball, nothing else mattered. Moreover, I just played irrespective of the fact that I had to play from a girls’ team. I just loved how sports was really like a meditation for me back then, and relaxing! Soon after school in college I represented my team at state levels as well.
Navigating an All Girls College:
College was a time when I started to explore and question my identity, gender and sexuality like many others go through but little did I know that it was just a baby step towards my changed personality now. It was an all-girls college but looking back at the years spent there, I have no regrets or griefs about my time there. I received so much love, appreciation from that place and I can never be thankful enough for college helping me understand how desperately I wanted to be what my soul wanted all along. I was surrounded with only women day and night which taught me a lot about female behaviour also how different I was from them. Girls around me mostly treated me like a guy which was fun. It soon became my happy place for the next four years as I met several beautiful and supportive people there, who are still backing me up! In college I fell in love which felt comfortable and warm. It gave me hope that I can also be loved. I am glad that I chose Banasthali because it was more like a spiritual journey for me and it is an inseparable part of me now.
Coming out to family, Year ahead:
Coming out was the toughest decision I ever made. Especially when I wanted to expose my soul in front of my parents. The odds of getting accepted by family was a blind gamble for me so the first family member I chose to convey this to was my brother. He freaked out at first and his protective side for his sister jumped up and he told me ‘to resolve it within myself’. I had tried to do it all these years, practically my whole life but has failed. But over time, he saw and felt my misery and understood the enormous pain I was going through. With his support, I finally had crossed the first hurdle and now it was time to take a step forward.
That was the point in my life when I could not hide anymore. I was exhausted from the pretense of it all, of the mask I had to continuously wear in front of everyone. I gathered all the courage I could muster and decided to text my parents. I came out to them how I was a transgender man and that I am looking forward to start medical transitioning. And then I got a surprise from them as well, they weren’t in rage but just worried about my future. “How will I survive in the society" was their greatest concern. I understood and even shared some of their concern but the thought of living the rest of my life as a female was lot scarier than facing the cruelty of the Indian society.
There were also times when answering their calls was hard. I was financially independent by then and was sure that I would be starting my transitioning soon. But I really hoped that my parents would also be onboard. I didn’t expect much as it was hard-hitting for them especially knowing that they came from a conservative background.
I spoke to my parents about gender identities and related concepts and kept up a discussion on my identity as a transgender men. Eventually after a year, they agreed to support me even to a point where they visited the doctors along with me. It took me a year but I was ready to give more of my time if that’s all it takes to keep us all together and happy. It was a hard path, it took time and patience but it had paid off, finally!
At first when I wasn’t aware that a medical therapy is possible for hormone replacement I struggled and somehow coped with the circumstances. But once I was aware about the therapy, I could not just sit idle and suffered more. This therapy was a hope to change things in my life that would allow me to feel exactly how I wanted to. Until now I was working on my career in a
completely new city just to be independent with very low confidence and self-doubts. I was desperate to start the sex-reassignment therapy as I felt like I deserved this more than anything else ever in this world.
Now, it’s been four months since I stared my therapy and I am super excited about it. Although it is a long and tedious process but I have already started to feel euphoric. My voice is dropping gradually and sometimes on phone calls people refer to me as ‘Sir’ which makes my day. While on transitioning process we are advised to keep our diet healthy and to workout consistently for better results. But I’m still very far from being comfortable in my own body. It’s a long journey and I’m sure I will make it a good one. Doctors warn about the possible side effects. Luckily I haven’t suffered any yet but it’s always good to contact experts when in doubt. I wake up happy now, it feels like I am going to meet this new person very soon.
Self-Acceptance is the key:
To all the members of the trans community I would just say that self-acceptance is the first step for everything else. I got motivated looking at the struggles of other trans people/men on social media. I accepted myself more when I found myself belonging to the community and also felt hopeful for myself as I understood their struggles. Their victory after the struggle always made me wonder that I too can be that person —A Happy Person.
I was always strong no matter how hard I fell but coming out brave and independent is what made me ME. I am glad I stood bold upright because if not me then who else? The community will always support each other but one’s struggles have to be fought alone, it has always been destined this way. It has been a very personal journey for me and today I believe I have finally been true to my soul and body as I have begun the process of accepting myself for exactly who I am.
(As told to Ayushi Gupta)