Suchitra was known as Hiranmay Dey before the sex reassignment surgery Image: Facebook/Suchitra Dey
I am from Kolkata, and a teacher by profession. I hold a double MA in English and Geography. I believe I am the most educated transgender in the state. But despite being accomplished, I have been refused jobs. Instead of appreciating my educational qualifications, people at the helm of affairs in the most prestigious institutions of the city criticise and humiliate me for the way I am.
The other day, I got a call from a female vice-principal of a renowned school. Being pretty impressed by my resume, she thought I would fit the profile. But as soon as I told her I am a transgender, she refused to offer me the job. This isn't an isolated incident. At this other school, I was asked to change my credentials. I got my sex reassignment surgery done last year. To put it in simple words, from a man, I turned into a woman. And I appeared for my exams before 2017, so the gender category of all my degrees read male. Now, the principal of the school wanted me to either change the gender-credential or come to school dressed like a man. How on earth would I change the credential? She wanted me to do something that was beyond my control.
If this wasn't enough, I was mentally harassed by a male principal of a school. He went on to question me about my sexuality. His questions were hideous. I was asked if my breasts could produce milk, or whether I would be able to bear a child after intercourse. He was more interested in knowing how my genitals work.
Suchitra also holds a BEd degree Image: Facebook/ Suchitra
Now, I couldn't put up a fight during any of the interviews, because I was in need of a job. Some of them, in fact, told me they would get back to me. But none of them did. It's really sad how things work here. The state government is not doing enough to sensitise people. The result is a sorry state of affairs. Despite the Supreme Court's verdict on privacy or recognition of transgenders as the third gender, our community is reeling under bigotry and parochialism. No law can rectify the harassment our community gets subjected to. I think more than laws enforcing our rights, society, the people around us, need to be gender sensitised.
I am completely alone in this fight. My community isn't educated enough to protest. A majority of them succumb to the situation and take up whatever jobs they get. Some of them end up being sex workers. And that's how people perceive us. I still remember how one of the principals who interviewed me had cast aspersions on our community. She criticised our mannerisms. I wonder how someone can think in this way. She should rectify her thought process, I mean she is the one with such lowly thoughts about fellow humans.
Unless people around us are gender-sensitive, no law can help us grow both in economic and political terms. Suchitra Dey
I believe education ignites one's conscience, which in turn results in a revolution, and revolution inevitably brings in change. I want to educate people, make them more aware of our rights. I want to eradicate the thin line between the subaltern and the mainstream. My community needs to be introduced to the mainstream, and it is only after that we will be able to live a holistic life.
(As told to Sreyashi Mazumdar)