Posted by Vedansh
I am Vedansh*, 23, I identify as a straight trans man. My partner is Mahi*. She is 24, and a cis woman. We don’t know what her sexual orientation is as because she has never been attracted towards anyone but me.
My story is about love. It’s a story how the slightest love, care and support from someone can push you to try one more time, especially when you come from the LGBT community. We live in a generation where we do not look for love, just someone to share an ‘in a relationship‘ status with on Facebook. Luckily, I fell in love when I wasn’t even looking for someone.
I remember vividly the day I met Mahi, the day it all began, about seven years ago. We went to a tuition class together. Our tuition teacher was picking on her for fun and had seized her mobile phone. As soon as I got to know what he did, I immediately rushed to him and fought for her, and won. Mahi had recently shifted to this comparatively bigger city. She belonged to a conservative, well-established family in a small town, a town with a literal radius of not more than 1.5 km. She wasn’t familiar with how to handle these kinds of people, so I stepped up. (But now I can’t help but to be grateful to my tuition teacher – he was the catalyst for our love story!)
Up until that time I had thought I was a typical lesbian who was more comfortable in boys’ clothes. I had neither realized that I was trans, nor did I have any idea that something called transgenderism exists.
I was obviously attracted to Mahi, but I didn’t do anything. I knew I would be blown off by her just as my previous crushes had done. But fortunately, unlike the others, she didn’t take me for granted. She showed care, respect, and love. We both fell for each other so naturally that we did not even realise that we were in a relationship, that too a lesbian relationship. However, there was no sexual attraction involved at that time. I was 14, and she was 15.
As time passed, I grew scared about being lesbian. I stopped talking to her for 3 years because I wanted to stop being a lesbian. That was hard for us both. I had given up on us, but she never did, and I couldn’t be more thankful to her for this. After a few months, I realised that nothing in the world should stop me from loving her. No fear was worth stopping myself from spending rest of my life with her. And so, we patched up.
But deep in my heart I always wanted to have a six-pack like guys did, with no chest and a slimmer lower body. I used to spend hours on the Internet searching “tomboy dressing“, “how to hide chest“, “how to hide hips“. I would tell Mahi about my insecurities and consciousness regarding my feminine body.
Eventually, I became too uncomfortable with my body, but as there wasn’t much awareness, I kept wondering why I felt the way that I did. Then I found Ellen DeGeneres – I was so happy that I finally found someone that I could identify with, with her short hair, masculine clothes, and her cool boots. But even that didn’t feel right because she would wholeheartedly embrace being a woman, while I never felt right when someone called (or calls) me a woman, a girl, or any feminine pronouns.
It wasn’t like I was ashamed of being a girl. I was just depressed about being in the wrong body and didn’t even know how to articulate my anxiety. After searching for months, I finally had my answer. I wasn’t a ‘tomboy’ – I just was a boy without the prefix ‘tom’.
I had to tell Mahi this, and I was nervous. But when I told her that I am a transgender man, she reacted with compassion and maturity. She said, “It’s fine, I don’t love your genitals, I love you! I love the person that you are at your core.” It was the strongest message of support a nervous partner could hope for. She began to read up about transgender people and the way they felt. I recently came out to my family – they had mixed reactions. Now Mahi is even helping my family understand transgenderism and what it entails.
Our love has grown since then – we dream together, we hope together, we cry together (yes, men do cry), and we also fight a lot (well, I fight a lot). We have been together for more than 8 years and she is with me, either physically or emotionally, at every moment. When she got a job that was out of town, she wasn’t ready to leave me to travel because of my depressive state. But I told her to take the job, so we could begin my medical transition as quickly as possible.
I want her to fly high and take every opportunity that comes her way. I would consider myself lucky if I could support her as she supported me. (Oh wait, I suppose that’s what makes me a feminist guy. Most guys think being a feminist makes you a less of a man – no, being feminist doesn’t have anything to do with being female because demanding equal rights for her isn’t same as giving up my rights.) Being a trans man has helped me to understand her better because I have been there and I actually felt what it takes to be a woman, especially in India. I love her for being so strong and never giving up upon us.
I have a little advice for young queer people out there – don’t be scared to fall in love, do justice to your studies and be independent. Mahi and I still battle the same fears – the fear of being judged, the fear of what our families will say – but today we have the courage to face it all together. Love really does conquer all.
Vedansh is 23, a CA student, photographer by passion, feminist at core, vegan, animal lover, and cares about the environment.