Knowing Kishan: Experiences of a Transwoman

Kishan from Manipur is a transwoman who has embraced her life beautifully. In a candid conversation, she shares some of the highest and lowest moments of her life.

I was anxious and excited at the same time to meet and spend some time with Kishan. We started pretty well with our conversation. To make our conversation more informal I asked what Kishan would prefer, “she” or “he”.

The answer was she. Kishan spoke with intense emotions and poured her heart out like a friend.

Facing Trauma in School

‘I desperately wanted to wear skirts because I was not comfortable in pants. Boys would not share a bench with me and I was not allowed to sit with the girls. The last bench became my escape. One day my mother bought me a new super-cool uniform for me. By the way, she has never rejected me of who I am; I guess that’s what a mother does.

The uniform got frills in front, like a skirt, and it was a pant from the back. I was happy that morning when I wore that uniform in school, and also that day made me quit school forever. There was this teacher who resented me. That day he stripped me naked and annihilated my buttocks with a blade because of my uniform. I realized it was not simply because of my uniform, but because of me. No one in the school even tried to help me. That day, I felt that what is the purpose of school if a child is being violated there?”

Finding humour in everyday life

“I am part of a street-drama group. Because people like us don’t have enough buttocks and breasts, we often put artificial ones to look more like a girl. I was getting ready for our act and I fainted. I just had my break-up and I had not been eating or sleeping very well.

Some of my friends took me to the hospital. I gained consciousness when they were placing me on the hospital bed. The nurses thought that I was a girl so they asked my friends, who were guys, to leave the room. I felt happy at that moment.

After they put some injections, the nurses helped me out to dress up the whole thing. They didn’t do a good job because as I and my friends were going down the stairs, my artificial buttocks started to fall off. One of my friends commented, ‘women generally give birth to humans, but you are giving birth to buttocks, that too an artificial one’. We all laughed so loud that we got a scolding from hospital staff.’

Acceptance from society

While speaking about the acceptance by the society of her and many more like her, she became vocal. According to her, society might never change their perception towards her or everyone like her. She seemed casual with the whole idea of being “unacceptable”.

She said: “We rule the world of street-drama and beauty, but society still disapproves of us. You never know, maybe we disapprove of their conventional perception where one has to hide their identity because it is unusual.”

My father named me Kishan and I intend to keep that way. Today he is no longer with us, but at least I have the name he has given to me,” she enunciated.

According to her, he accepted her of who she was but she knew that he wanted her to become a mechanic. He was one of the famous mechanics in her neighbourhood. She lost her father in 2004.

Photos: Asem Chanu Manimala

Originally published here, this story is part of the Milaap Fellowship Program.  

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About the author

Asem Chanu Manimala