Ektara Maheshwari

I told my mother about the way I feel. She was surprised and anxious about my future and how I would handle society, but I was prepared to deal with anything. She informed my father. I was scared and my head was muddled by so many thoughts. But his words lifted the burden I’d been carrying for years; he said, “Don’t worry, from now on, we’ll think we have two daughters.”

I was about 5 years old when I began to believe I was a girl like my older sister. I used to wear lehengas and wanted to do everything she did, but I couldn’t understand why I was denied things she was allowed to do.

My inside doesn’t match my outside reality; I had to deal with opposition every day and was compelled to act or live in a way that didn’t belong to me. I was expected to act like the other boys in my class, but since I wasn’t interested in sports or other activities, eventually everyone else noticed. The boys started teasing me and touching me inappropriately. Two boys once questioned me if I am a girl or a boy while I was with my cousins. Everyone laughed, and I remember feeling dead inside.

Time progressed and I thought it was about whom I was attracted to that defined who I am but a show called POSE on queer community challenged my belief, later I also watched one episode of satyamev jayate starring Gazal Dhaliwal, from where I got to know about gender transformation.

At the age of 25, I informed my parents and decided to undergo Hormone Replacement therapy and laser treatment. I had sex reassignment surgery when I was 26. Many relatives and friends began calling me and my parents, advising me not to do this. One woman questioned my mother if I would be able to have a child, but is this all that women are meant to do? Society is constantly trying to bind us with their beliefs, but who are they to decide for me?

I am a heterosexual woman of trans experience, and my journey has been tough and painful. The stigma surrounding gender dysphoria remains prevalent, but I firmly believe that society should not dictate who you are. Instead, you should assert your truth—the truth you choose to live by. Today, I am a professional anchor and actor. I have broken all the societal barriers imposed on me. I am the sun of my own galaxy, shinnied hard and made sacrifices to meet their needs. It’s not easy, and I still face many obstacles, but I know I will make things right and bring back happiness to my family which they truly deserve.

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