In a exclusive interview with FSOG, Manpreet Singh, a Trans man of the Punjabi decent and Sikh faith told us the struggles he had with his identity, faith and dealing with societal pressures regarding his gender orientation. Indians are still rather close minded when it comes to openly talking about sex, gender identity and orientation; when we remove the stigma attached to these topics, we create an open dialog for us to understand each other better.
Below are the transcripts of the interview:
1. What was your experience transitioning considering you belong to a conservative culture/ ethnicity?
I cut ties to the majority of my family, and most of my friends were not south Asian, so in the beginning, transitioning was smooth since my community didn’t know about me. Once people started to find out, however, the cyber harassment began. Some people try to use Sikhi to harass me, but they usually give up once they realize I’m not going to abandon my identity. It was really interesting to go into gurdwaras while I was transitioning, but people didn’t really pay attention to me which was great.
2. Did religion / faith play a role in your decision to transition? Was it ever a hindrance?
As I transitioned medically, my Sikh faith continued to grow strong. I began to fall in love with my religious roots and started to reread the history of my people. It was through the history of my people that I gained the strength to accept my identity completely and embrace who I am. I am thankful for my religion since it was the foundation of my emotional support. My religion and my people made me realize that I am man enough, no matter what (Western) society thinks of me. I am now considering going off of hormone replacement therapy because I do not feel like I need it anymore. I think HRT did the job that it was intended to do.
3.What is your aspiration in life?
I aspire to be a spoken word artist with published works in the near future covering topics like gender identity, sexuality, queerphobia, rape culture, poverty, and feminism. I will be releasing a book sometime this year.
4. A significant incident that changed your perspective on life or gender norms / roles
I’ve always thought gender norms / roles were a way to control people, so I can’t say my perception changed because it has always been this way.
5. One piece of advice you would give to the trans youth of the world
A note to all my trans youth:
There will be days when you want to quit, stop therapy, go back in the closet, and just end it all with a suicide note. You’ll feel ugly, hopeless, disgusting, and have the worst depressive episodes you could ever imagine. Sometimes it’ll feel like staying in the closet was better than dealing with your dysphoria head on (if you have dysphoria). You’ll be mad at the world, your friends, your parents, and other people for not understanding who you are. Most importantly, you’ll be mad at yourself. Why am I this way? Why was I born this way?
There were instances when I would look at the pills on the counter and think of how easily I could down all 45 pills, die from an overdose. There were times when my injections made me so angry that I felt like jumping out of a building when I was four stories high. There were days when I wanted to cut my throat and slice my wrists; I would get so worked up over my chest (pre surgery and post op) because it made me feel so insecure. It was hard. I get it, it was fucking hard. I was depressed, anxious, angry.
I had to find myself, and I’m still trying to figure things out. But that’s okay because not knowing everything is OK. Remember that knowledge comes with time. Ask questions, get help, reach out to people in the community. WE ARE ALL HERE TO HELP EACH OTHER.
You were born for greatness. You were born to see what it was like to live through the eyes of different genders. You were born to bring change upon the world and destroy the binary system. You were born to bring heaven on Earth.
So next time you feel like ending things, remember how far you’ve come. Remember how strong you are. Keep your head up. Hang in there. You are not alone, and you will never be alone.
– By Shreyanka Thejaswi