Posted by Sagnik Puri
Trigger Warning: sexual violence and rape
There is nothing extraordinary about me. I haven’t performed any extraordinary feat, neither killed some monster, nor did I single-handedly protect the country from invaders – the very concept of nation is something I do not believe in. What I did was simple, at least to me. My tools were logic, a search for explanations, and dissent – of these I was foremost known for my dissent. But you must not believe that I was not at fault in all occasions of my registration of dissent, some were rightly directed, others I admit were not.
My parents tell me I was never a easy-to-handle kid, neither during my childhood, nor in my adolescent years and obviously not as a young adult.
Also read: A Trans Daughter‘s Open Letter To Her Family
My story begins in the month of March in the year of 2017. The day I was released from hospital after my failed suicide attempt by drinking Phenyl, as the most common floor cleaning agent of semi-urban India was called. This suicide attempt stemmed from the pent up frustration of me realising my sexuality, stuck in the regressive academic system of Ramakrishna Mission Vidyamandira (my gender awareness hadn’t developed as of that time). This organisation, Ramakrishna Mission, criminalises difference among the students in the institutions it runs. I had to do things I’m not proud of to get out of that place, but they were necessary.
They made it a point to not touch the same things I did, as if I could make them homosexual just by contamination.
My history does not make me a trustworthy witness.
So, my story takes a leap of about 4 months. 17th of July, 2017, the day I took admission into University Of Hyderabad, which perversely is more famous for its institutional murder of Rohith Vemula than for academics, even if the university throws its ranking around like most private blood-sucking universities, in spite of being a centre-funded public university.
My Experiences With Gender, Or Rather Rebelling Against Pre-Conceived Gender Norms
During my first semester in HCU I joined Students Federation of India (SFI), which is as revolutionary as the Popes of the Catholic Church. I was expecting acceptance from my then ‘comrades’, but all I got was homophobic slurs. People who used to regularly hang out with me before I came out publicly, made it a point to ignore me or walk away when I got near them. They made it a point to not touch the same things I did, as if I could make them homosexual just by contamination.
During the course of the semester, I came out as non-binary and that was literally the last time most of the members and supporters of that organisation showed any emotion pertaining to the fact that I was a fellow specimen of homo sapien. This continued till the time I was raped.
instead of supporting me, they spread rumours that I was accusing the person who raped me to gain popularity and to siphon money from his parents.
You’d think that might have made them show some sympathy and support towards my cause, but what actually happened was shocking. Instead of supporting me, they ran rumours and slather campaigns on my character. They claimed that as I’m a non-binary homosexual individual, I apparently had a tendency to have sexual relationships with anyone and everyone, and that I was accusing the person who raped me to gain popularity and to siphon money from his parents.
It just happened to be that the father of the person I was accusing of rape was a person of political influence in the Muslim community of the Malabar region, and that CPI(M) does not wish to lose its vote bank in the area. They played this cruel game with me, for it was a game alright – a game of victim/survivor shaming.
Last semester, I came out as transgender. Since the moment I came out, I have lost every single person I had referred to as ‘friends’. If that is not discrimination, I have no idea what else to call it.
Sagnik Puri is a student of Sociology at University Of Hyderabad who wishes to specialise in Political Sociology and Gender Theory. Other than their involvement in politics on campus, they try to reach people and engage them in conversations through We The Circle in Hyderabad and QueerMitra in Bhopal. You can follow them on Instagram and Facebook.