The Journey from She to He

“You are a girl! What are you saying?” is the reaction she most often contracts. To be frank, that is much better compared to many other horrific and disgusting comments he has got all his life.

Now, endless thoughts were coming to his mind – it had been a few days. A battle was going on inside his heart for the last 27 years. Each morning he was faking his identity while stepping out of his house, going to work and the likes. Now he needed to put a full stop to this battle.

Born as a girl child, he knew since his childhood, that, he was not a girl. He did not identify with the sex he was born with. Explaining this simple fact to his family, his friends, his teachers, colleagues, etc was a burden he had to carry throughout.

“It’s not easy to coming out to family and friends. But it’s impossible to come out at the office.”, his friend advised him. He didn’t reply.

He also knew that his company did not have a diversity policy. He could lose his job -his only source of earning. He also knew that finding a job would be difficult – not because he did not have the potential but for his appearance. He got rejected in many interviews because he wore male clothes while carrying a female name and identity. Oh yes, on legal paper he was still “she”. He was frustrated and depressed but he had to find a way.

One day, he heard his HR head commenting on an article on transgender inclusion. With a ray of hope, he opened his mailbox and started typing. The more he typed the more he left light -he felt the burden being lifting off his shoulder. He read and re-read the entire mail and then sent it to him. The mail had gone to head HR and his heart started pumping faster than it ever did. He was nervous. Moments later, he was in HR head’s cabin. In the cabin, he started sobbing and crying. This time, these were tears of happiness.

What happened? The organization wanted to start the D&I journey and what better than have their own employee help them start it. Till that day, the HRs in the organization thought that they did not have people from the LGBTIQ community among them but, this incident had busted the myth – in a big way.

Our he was now “He”. HR was informed that his preferred name Nivaan instead of Niyati. He prefers male pronunciation i.e. he/him/his over she/her. He wanted to start his transition and the biggest issue for him was the use of the washroom. This time the admin team came in rescue and suggested to use Executive Washroom which was gender-neutral.

He requested a change of name card, visiting card, email id, and name in all internal communications. He also requested sensitization of among his immediate team members, leaders, security staff, reception, and third-party staff so that he could feel at ease. He knew that his organization has a long way to go from having transition support, leaves, changing his name in a legal document to trans inclusive medical policy. But he was happy – at least they had taken the first few steps.

As a D&I champion I am wondering how difficult is it for us to open doors for our employees? Census 2011 says that there are approximately 5L transgender people in India but in reality, numbers are way more than that. There are lots of people living with their biological sex but identify with the opposite. Employees from the LGBTIQ community are still I closets and because of fear, that is affecting their productivity and loyalty. Inclusion starts with unconditional respect. That is the first thing everyone should do. Every individual has the right to respect and when we are respect our LGBTIQ employees we are doing them a favor. Being unaware is not wrong but, to discriminate is.

About the Author: Aditya Batavia is an Assistant Manager at future Group and Board Member of Tweet Foundation. He is passionate about empowerment and upliftment of the Transgender community. If you have any queries w.r.t the article, you can reach Aditya at adi.dineshbhai@gmail.com