THE MORE YOU PULL ME, THE FARTHER I WILL GO: MX. DHANANJAY CHAUHAN
BY KANISHK SINGH
“Trans-Gender”, whenever we come across this word, we are surrounded by a lot of doubts and myths about them. To be born in a society where Trans people are considered stain and taboo makes life more strenuous. So, in this Pride Month, we to clear those doubts and to present the scenario of this community in our society had a live conversation with Mx. Dhananjay Chauhan. She is leading this community from the front and is working with various Ngo’s for its welfare. She is the first Trans-Gender student of Punjab University. All she wants from society is the acceptance of this community. She has been also organizing various initiatives to help and cure HIV/AIDS patients. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. She wants to enter politics so that her social work may attain new height, and also because she wants the voice of trans people to be “Hard and Heard”.
So, here is the brief conversation with a warm-hearted personality, Mx. Dhananjay Chauhan:
Since many of us don’t know much about Trans people, so how can we differentiate in various categories under this?
See Trans-Gender is an umbrella term. So, there are two broad categories in this, one is trans-women and the other is trans-men. Trans-women are the ones who are born in a male body but they identify themselves as women, so biologically they are men but psychologically they are women. The same goes for Trans-men, who identify themselves as men. So, we should treat both as they expect.
One and a half years prior you were representing yourself as a man but now you show yourself as a woman, so why this change?
That time I was in process of coming out, I was representing myself as a man for the past 44 years, but deep inside I knew I was a woman. So, this had to come out someday and I was in the transition process back then. It was very tough to manifest in public that I was trans-women, that’s why it took me so long to do this.
Tell us something about the struggle and hardships that you have been through before you started to work for your community?
It was very a tough time for me because right after I started my journey to explore myself, I was put behind the bars by building a fraudulent case against me. So, when I was released on bail, all my hopes to live were shattered. I had to also manage the consequences which my family could face. That is when I perceived that I need to do something since my name was already downtrodden. So, I started working for and with my community.
What is the biggest problem that you faced when you started to work for your community?
People of the community itself were the biggest problem. Because since they lacked education they did not know about their opportunities and rights. They were of the mindset, that they were born to do certain things that they were already doing, whether it be to beg, dance, or do sex work. When told, they disregarded us. But eventually, things are changing and along with it mindset of people too. As far as non-community people are concerned, they teased and ignored us. They never really gave us a chance.
Is your Family now supporting you?
Earlier there was no family support. I recall even till the past year; my family didn’t support me. Even today its forcedness which brings me support from my family. Because now they have realized that we are stubborn and will not give up that easy. So, my family previously tortured me badly, they used to beat, burn and even tried conversion therapy on me to get the evil spirit out of me. But when they saw me in the newspaper, in interviews and my meet with the Canadian Prime Minister, then they were very proud as well as happy for me. So, I never left my home whatever the condition may be and will never leave in the future.
What do you want to pursue next in Panjab University?
(Smiles) I have not finished yet, currently, I am working on my Ph.D. It will take around the next 5 to 7 years. So first, my focus is on completing this degree.
What are your views on discrimination on the LGBTQ community?
Discrimination is at a very large scale as far as working places are concerned. The staff over there is not sensitive towards us. So, it is a very arduous task to walk shoulder to shoulder with the society. We are thrown out of the job without any reason. There are many examples wherein we people are not given a job just because we are trans, irrespective of our qualifications. Its duty of government to aware and sensitize people. So, there are challenges in the world, we have to face them and move forward.
Share with us any jolly or mischievous moment of yours during your college times?
Jolly ones (amazed), well there are plenty of them. I recall once, there were some girls on the student center, I was taking some stuff. And they were laughing and staring at me, initially, I ignored them. But they didn’t stop, that’s when I went to them and shouted, “Bitch I am Fabulous” (Chuckles).
Do you have any plans as far as joining politics is concerned?
(Smiles) I am working on it. I see politics as a social work, which I am already doing. So yes, I am looking forward to it because then my social work will gain more strength. Also, because I want to place demand and opportunities in parliament for my community, even the last man standing in the line should get justice.
Any final message for us?
Do watch “Admitted”, its movie on Trans-Gender community, from there you will get to know about the struggle that we face. One more thing which I would like to add is, we need nothing but acceptance, if you will accept us, we will change everything.
TO WATCH “ADMITTED” CLICK ON THE LINK GVEN BELOW